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(LEAD) National Assembly speaker Chung arrives in U.S. for parliamentary diplomacy

All News 03:33 September 13, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES in paras 1-2, 6 with arrival in Washington; CHANGES headline, dateline; CHANGES photos)

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun arrived in Washington on Monday for a weeklong trip aimed at strengthening cooperation between the legislatures of the two countries in promoting peace on the Korean Peninsula and beyond.

Accompanying Chung on the eight-day trip were the floor leaders of the ruling Saenuri Party, the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea and the People's Party -- Chung Jin-suk, Woo Sang-ho and Park Jie-won, respectively. It is the first time that the floor leaders of the ruling and opposition parties have accompanied a parliamentary chief on an overseas trip.

His trip is expected to focus on stressing the importance of the South Korea-U.S. alliance in coping with Pyongyang's escalating nuclear threats. On Friday, the communist state conducted its fifth and most powerful nuclear test, sharply raising cross-border tensions.

On Tuesday, the parliamentary leaders will meet with scholars from major U.S. think tanks in Washington D.C., such as the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Brookings Institution, to discuss the evolution of the bilateral alliance and ways to deepen it.

Following the session, they are set to hold a meeting with Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to exchange views on the volatile security environment of the Korean Peninsula, Northeast Asia, and other issues. Also scheduled are meetings with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

On Thursday, Chung will fly to New York. At the Korea Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing ties between the two countries, the speaker is to deliver a speech on the bilateral alliance and its role in promoting peace in the region.

While in New York, the National Assembly head is also scheduled to meet with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for talks over inter-Korean relations and other issues such as sustainable development.

Chung's schedule to the United States will wrap up with a visit to Silicon Valley, where the six-term lawmaker is to offer his encouragement to South Korean entrepreneurs and scientists working in the high-tech cluster.

South Korea's National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun (C) waves on Sept. 12 as he begins a trip to the U.S. together with Rep. Chung Jin-suk (R), floor leader of the ruling Saenuri Party, and Woo Sang-ho (L), floor leader of the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea (Yonhap)


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