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(LEAD) S. Korean foreign minister heads to Panama, Mexico

Diplomacy 13:58 November 28, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES with plan for meeting with top U.N. officials in 2nd para)

SEOUL, Nov. 28 (Yonhap) -- South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha left for Panama on Wednesday for meetings with the country's president and top diplomat on improving bilateral ties.

She plans to make a stopover in New York, where she will meet with U.N. officials, including Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohamed.

Kang is scheduled to arrive in Panama on Friday (local time) and pay a courtesy call on President Juan Carlos Varela.

She will also hold talks with Isabel Saint Malo, vice president and minister of foreign affairs, on "pending issues between the two nations and promoting friendly, cooperative relations," according to her ministry.

The minister will then head to Mexico to attend the presidential inauguration ceremony of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Dec. 1.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha leaves for New York on Nov. 28, 2018, to visit Panama and Mexico. (Yonhap)

It marks the first time for Kang to be dispatched as Seoul's special envoy to such an event.

Mexico established a "strategic partner" relationship with South Korea in 2005, the first among Latin American countries.

The ministry said the two sides are maintaining "the best cooperative relationship" in various fields, including politics, economy, culture and people-to-people exchanges.

She plans to meet separately with the new Mexican leader and deliver President Moon Jae-in's personal letter to him.

Kang will also sit down with her new counterpart, Marcelo Ebrard, for discussions on ways for forward-looking cooperation, the ministry said.

Ministry officials have not ruled out the possibility of Kang holding talks with Kim Yong-nam, North Korea's ceremonial head of state, on the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony. Kim is leading Pyongyang's delegation to it.


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