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Nuke envoys of S. Korea, U.S. likely to meet next week

All Headlines 09:45 July 06, 2017

SEOUL, July 6 (Yonhap) -- The top nuclear envoys of South Korea and the United States will likely meet at a regional security conference next week to discuss countermeasures against North Korea's recent test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile, a foreign ministry official said Thursday.

Member states of the long-suspended six-party talks aimed at denuclearizing the North are expected to send their officials, along with private-sector experts, to the informal Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue (NEACD) scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday in Singapore.

The NEACD is an annual security forum regarded as the "Track 1.5" platform where North Korea, along with South Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia, usually send senior nuclear envoys.

The U.S. State Department earlier said that its special envoy on North Korea, Joseph Yun, will join the conference.

"We are also considering sending our nuclear envoy Kim Hong-kyun to the conference," the ministry official said. "It is very likely that Kim will attend it as the U.S. decided to send Joseph Yun there."

He added that Kim also mentioned a possible meeting with Yun at the conference in his phone conversation held Wednesday to discuss countermeasures against the North's missile provocation a day earlier. The North claimed it successfully test-fired an ICBM on Tuesday.

It is not clear whether the Japanese envoy will join the NEACD, but if he does, there is a possibility that a trilateral meeting of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan could take place. Their last meeting was held in Tokyo in April.

North Korea sent Choe Son-hui in charge of North America affairs to the conference last year, but it has not confirmed yet whether it will join this year's gathering.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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