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Nuke envoys of S. Korea, Japan to meet ahead of inter-Korean talks

All News 17:00 January 05, 2018

SEOUL, Jan. 5 (Yonhap) -- The top nuclear envoys of South Korea and Japan will meet next week to discuss North Korea's nuclear issue ahead of the upcoming inter-Korean talks on Pyongyang's possible participation in the Winter Olympics in the South, the foreign ministry said Friday.

Lee Do-hoon, the special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, and his Japanese counterpart Kenji Kanasugi will meet in Seoul on Monday, according to the ministry.

The meeting will take place one day before high-ranking officials of the two Koreas sit down Tuesday in the truce village of Panmunjom to discuss the North's participation in the PyeongChang Olympic Games, which will be held from Feb. 9-25.

The discussions follow North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's overture for dialogue in his New Year's Day speech and subsequent action taken to restore a border communication line between the Koreas.

"Both sides will share views on situations on the Korean Peninsula since the North's New Year's message and will have in-depth discussions on strengthening diplomatic efforts to advance inter-Korean relations and peacefully resolve the North Korea nuclear problem," the ministry said in a press release.

As the two Koreas move toward talks, which will be the first of their kind in about two years, South Korea has apparently stepped up diplomatic coordination with its partner countries in dealing with the current nuclear stalemate.

President Moon Jae-in earlier made it clear that improving inter-Korean relations should go along with efforts to denuclearize North Korea, and he called for increased efforts to closely coordinate with major powers.

On Thursday, Lee held phone conversations with his U.S. and Japanese partners to share information about the latest security situation on the Korean Peninsula.

The South Korean nuclear envoy also held a face-to-face meeting in Seoul late Friday with his Chinese counterpart Kong Xuanyou to discuss the North's nuclear issue. The ministry said it is arranging a similar meeting with U.S officials.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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