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S. Korea to convene meeting of key ambassadors to discuss security issues

All News 09:27 January 15, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will convene a meeting of key ambassadors this week to discuss security challenges facing the country, the foreign ministry said Sunday.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Seoul's ambassadors to the United States, China, Japan, Russia and the United Nations will be in the country for talks with top diplomats.

It said Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, as well as senior officials, will be on hand to hold talks on outstanding issues, such as North Korea's threat to fire off an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), and the diplomatic row over the planned deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.

Pyongyang has warned it can test an ICBM that could target the continental United States, despite warnings by Washington, while China has strenuously objected to Seoul's decision to deploy the American THAAD missile defense system on its soil. Seoul and Tokyo have also have been at odds over the erecting of another girl statue in front of Japan's Consulate General office in the port city of Busan. The statue represents victims of sexual slavery when the Korean Peninsula was colonized by Japan in the first half of the 20th century.

Besides such developments South Korea like other countries are trying to gauge the policy direction of the incoming Donald Trump administration that will take office this week.

Diplomatic sources said that the summons of key ambassadors is a first and totally different from the annual meeting of the heads of overseas missions around March.

"The fact the talks are being held reflects how seriously Seoul perceives the current security situation," said an official source, who declined to be identified. He added that there will be an in-depth assessment of all challenges, with diplomats expected to come up with cohesive countermeasures that will best reflect the country's national interests.

Yun, meanwhile, already said in his New Year's message that challenges facing the country are the gravest since the end of the Cold War, signaling that Seoul is gearing up for difficult times ahead.

yonngong@yna.co.kr
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