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Pence to send clear message over N. Korea, THAAD during Seoul visit: official

All News 15:41 April 13, 2017

SEOUL, April 13 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will send a clear message on stepping up joint efforts to curb North Korea's nuclear ambitions and provocations when he visits South Korea this weekend, the foreign ministry here said Thursday.

Pence is to arrive in Seoul on Sunday for a three-day visit aimed to reaffirm the Donald Trump administration's continued commitment to the U.S.-South Korea alliance. Following South Korea, he will also travel to Japan, Indonesia, Australia and Hawaii.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (EPA-Yonhap file photo)

"As Vice President Pence's South Korean visit comes at a very sensitive time ... A clear message on joint efforts in terms of the South Korea-U.S. alliance against North Korea will be sent out," Cho June-hyuck, spokesman at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a press briefing.

"I expect a clear message would also be delivered on the issue of THAAD and other key issues," he said, referring to Seoul and Washington's efforts to dissuade China from retaliatory actions over the South Korean deployment of the U.S. antimissile system.

"The forthcoming visit marks Pence's first trip to any Asian country since taking office," the spokesman said, adding that it will become a milestone in efforts to intensify the bilateral alliance and coordinate policies on core issues.

During the visit, Pence is scheduled to hold talks with Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn and National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun and participate in a hearing with local business leaders. He will also spend Easter Sunday with U.S. and South Korean troops.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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