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U.S. determined to maximize pressure on N. Korea before administration change: Seoul

All News 16:44 January 05, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 5 (Yonhap) -- The United States is determined to maximize its sanctions and pressure over North Korea's nuclear ambitions and carry the policy into the Donald Trump administration, the foreign ministry here said Thursday, referring to a series of South Korea-U.S. talks scheduled for this week.

On Thursday in Washington, South Korea's Vice Foreign Minister will hold trilateral talks with his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, Tony Blinken and Shinsuke Sugiyama, to discuss collaboration against North Korea's nuclear and missile threats.

The meeting will be followed by a meeting on Friday between deputy chief of the National Security Office Cho Tae-yong and Blinken, aimed at dealing with North Korea's nuclear and missile development.

The fifth round of U.S.-Korea strategic consultations on North Korea policy between Cho and Blinken will be held just two weeks before a U.S. administration change, foreign ministry spokesman Cho Jung-hyuck said in a briefing.

Cho said the timing reflects "the U.S. determination to escalate the level of pressure on North Korea to the maximum point ahead of the new administration's launch and to maintain and further develop the policy line in the new administration."

In the meeting, the officials will discuss ways to verify the global implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2321 to further sharpen the international community's punitive actions on Pyongyang, the spokesman also noted.

Separately, South Korea's Vice Foreign Minister for multilateral affairs Ahn Chong-ghee will visit Washington for three days from Jan. 9 for talks on economic and atomic energy issues, according to the foreign ministry.

During the trip, Ahn will preside at the second round of high-level South Korea-U.S. economic consultations aimed at discussing bilateral collaboration on economic, space and climate change matters.

He is also scheduled to preside at a bilateral meeting on atomic energy issues to discuss how bilateral cooperation is proceeding in the field, according to the ministry.

Ahn will then meet with U.S. congressmen, business moguls, academics and members of the media as part of public diplomacy outreach, the ministry noted.


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