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S. Korea's top diplomat joins ASEAN meetings next week

All News 15:49 July 21, 2016

SEOUL, July 21 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se will attend ASEAN meetings including a regional security forum to be held in Laos next week where he will discuss cooperation and issues of mutual concerns, his office said Thursday.

Top diplomats from Asia-Pacific countries and the European Union will meet in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, and hold a series of meetings led by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations over the weekend. The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the region's largest security gathering, will also be held on Tuesday.

Yun plans to hold the South Korea-Mekong region foreign ministers' meeting on Sunday, followed by meetings with his counterparts from ASEAN countries, ASEAN plus three including China and Japan on Monday and Tuesday, according to Cho June-hyuck, foreign ministry's spokesperson during a regular briefing.

He will also join the ARF meeting where North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho is expected to attend, the spokesperson said. The ARF is a rare international occasion attended by all of the countries involved in long-suspended six-part talks aimed at ending the North's nuclear ambitions.

Asked if there would be talks between Yun and his North Korean counterpart Ri, the spokesman said, "No."

Cho said that South Korea is currently seeking to hold bilateral talks or short conversation sessions with representatives from 13 countries. He did not name the countries that the government is contacting.

"It will be a much tighter schedule (for the minister) than last year," he told reporters.


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