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U.S. nuclear envoy to visit S. Korea to discuss N.K. issue

All Headlines 10:45 September 12, 2016

SEOUL, Sept. 12 (Yonhap) -- A U.S. nuclear envoy will visit South Korea this week to discuss with its ally North Korea's latest nuke test and possible countermeasures, diplomatic sources said Monday.

Sung Kim, the U.S. special envoy on North Korea's nuclear issue, will arrive on Monday afternoon and is scheduled to hold talks with his South Korean counterpart, Kim Hong-kyun, on Tuesday, according to sources.

The two nuclear negotiators are expected to hold a press conference after the meeting.

His visit comes on the heels of the North's fifth nuclear test on Friday, which is regarded as Pyongyang's strongest underground blast to date.

South Korea, Japan and the U.S. requested the United Nations Security Council launch discussions on the North right after the communist nation conducted the nuclear detonation on its founding anniversary, just eight months after its fourth test in January.

The UNSC adopted a press statement strongly condemning the North and pledging to begin work to put together a new resolution of sanctions aimed at punishing the communist country for its nuclear provocation.

Before coming to South Korea, Sung Kim held a meeting with his Japanese counterpart, Kenji Kanasugi, in Tokyo, where they promised to see the strongest ever measures again the North.

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry earlier promised to work together in producing tough resolutions that would fill up any "loopholes" in previous punitive measures in order to make the North feel the repercussions of its actions.

Experts say the loopholes that may be affected include the exceptions in previous sanctions linked closely with the daily lives of ordinary people in North Korea. Blacklisting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un might be another possible measure to be discussed.

Meanwhile, the U.S. nuclear envoy was recently appointed to be the new ambassador to the Philippines. His visit to Seoul is expected to be the last one as his current capacity of Washington's top negotiator for the now-stalled six-party talks.

The multilateral denuclearization talks involving the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia have been stalled since late 2008 when the North walked away from the negotiating table. The North earlier said that the talks have been "dead," indicating that it has no intention of returning to them.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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