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(3rd LD) S. Korea, U.S. top diplomats discuss N. Korea

All News 16:39 August 04, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES with talks with Canadian minister in paras 12-14; ADDS photo)
By Lee Chi-dong

SINGAPORE, Aug. 4 (Yonhap) -- The top diplomats of South Korea and the United States held one-on-one talks in Singapore on Saturday on North Korea and alliance issues on the sidelines of ASEAN-hosted annual sessions.

The meeting between Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo came amid indications of trouble in efforts for the "complete denuclearization" of Korea under the April 27 inter-Korean summit and the June 12 talks between the leaders of the U.S. and the North.

The North has called for security assurance measures, which includes the declaration of a formal end to the Korean War, citing some of its goodwill gestures, such as the dismantling of nuclear and missile test sites. Last week, it also handed over the remains of American troops killed in the 1950-53 conflict, an implementation of a deal in the four-point Sentosa accord.

The U.S., however, has focused on pressing it to take demonstrable steps toward denuclearization.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (R) and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meet in Singapore on Aug. 4, 2018, in this photo provided by Kang's ministry. (Yonhap)

Kang and Pompeo agreed to continue close coordination between the allies despite the setback.

The South's minister briefed Pompeo on the latest development of inter-Korean relations and future steps, according to her ministry.

She also suggested the allies keep making joint efforts to achieve the goal of complete denuclearization and lasting peace on the peninsula on the base of the robust alliance, it said in a press release.

The secretary agreed to the importance of Washington and Seoul working together in the process.

They also discussed pending issues of mutual concern like the sharing of the financial burden for the U.S. Forces Korea, Iran sanctions and trade, according to a diplomatic source with related information.

Pompeo was quoted as saying that his government will "seriously consider" Seoul's request for a waiver of sanctions on Iran to minimize the negative impact on its companies doing Iran-related businesses.

It was their second meeting in about two weeks. They had talks in New York on June 20.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (R) meets with her Canadian counterpart Chrystia Freeland in Singapore on Aug. 4, 2018, in this photo released by Kang's ministry. (Yonhap)

Kang also had one-on-one talks with her Canadian counterpart Chrystia Freeland.

She expressed her gratitude for Canada's support for the Korea peace process and requested a constructive role.

Freeland pledged Canada's continued backing and invited Kang to take part in the inaugural female foreign ministers' meeting to be held in Montreal in September.

The foreign ministers of the ASEAN Plus Three member states pose for a photo in Singapore on Aug. 4, 2018, in this photo provided by South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. (Yonhap)

Later Saturday, Kang attended a string of multilateral meetings -- the ASEAN Plus Three (APT), East Asia Summit (EAS) and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) talks.

The APT is a forum of the ASEAN members and their three Northeast Asian partners: South Korea, China and Japan. The EAS is joined by the United States, Russia, India, Australia and New Zealand.

The ARF has 27 members, including the European Union, and its annual session is hosted by the rotating chair of the ASEAN bloc.


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