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(2nd LD) S. Korean FM meets North's titular leader in Mexico

Diplomacy 22:09 December 02, 2018

(ATTN: CLARIFIES para 3)

SEOUL, Dec. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha has met with the North's ceremonial head of state in Mexico and expressed her hope for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's prompt visit to Seoul, the foreign ministry here said Sunday.

Kang's meeting with Kim Yong-nam took place on Saturday while visiting the Latin American country to attend the presidential inauguration ceremony of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, according to Seoul's foreign ministry.

In talks with Kim, Kang expressed her hope that the North Korean leader would promptly make a visit to Seoul to strengthen the drive to bring lasting peace to the Korean Peninsula. The North's leader agreed earlier to visit the South Korean capital before the year's end to reciprocate President Moon Jae-in's trip to Pyongyang in September.

The North Korean official was quoted as telling the minister that the two sides should work together to improve inter-Korean ties.

In this photo, provided by Seoul's foreign ministry, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (R) poses for a photo with North Korea's ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam, in Mexico. The ministry said they met on Dec. 1, 2018, during a luncheon held on the sidelines of the presidential inauguration ceremony of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. (Yonhap)

The talks took place during a welcome luncheon on the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony and were not planned ahead, the ministry said.

The conversation was conducted in an amicable atmosphere, with Kim extending greetings to Moon, a ministry official said.

The minister also briefly met with Ivanka Trump -- U.S. President Donald Trump's daughter and a White House adviser -- the ministry said, without elaborating further.

Kang also met with the new Mexican leader and delivered Moon's congratulations along with his willingness to maintain the two countries' "strategic partner" relationship.

On Friday, Kang sat down with her new Mexican counterpart, Marcelo Ebrard, and discussed ways to expand cooperation, the ministry said.

During the ministerial meeting, the South Korean minister asked for Mexico's support for Seoul to join the Pacific Alliance as an associate member and invited Ebrard to visit Seoul sometime next year, it said.

In this photo, provided by Seoul's foreign ministry, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (R) poses for a photo with Mexico's new president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, in the Latin American country on Dec. 1, 2018. (Yonhap)

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