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S. Korea to send working-level diplomat to Moscow nonproliferation conference

Diplomacy 16:12 October 30, 2019

SEOUL, Oct. 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korea plans to send a working-level diplomat handling the North Korean nuclear issue to an international nonproliferation conference in Moscow next week, Seoul's foreign ministry said Wednesday.

The ministry has decided to send an official from its office of Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs to the Moscow Nonproliferation Conference slated to take place in the Russian capital from Nov. 7-9.

The decision raised expectations that officials from the two Koreas could have diplomatic contact on the margins of the international forum, at a time when efforts to improve bilateral relations have been stalled amid a lack of progress in denuclearization negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang.

Hosted by Russia's Center for Energy and Security Studies, the conference is set to bring together some 250 participants from more than 40 countries, as well as those from key international organizations, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Kim Joon-hyung, head of the Korea National Diplomatic Academy under the South Korean foreign ministry, will attend a debate session of the conference.

In 2017, Choe Son-hui, then a director general for North American affairs and currently a North Korean vice foreign minister, attended the conference. At the time, South Korea also sent a director general official, but inter-Korean talks did not materialize.

At this year's gathering, former U.S. State Department officials, such as Thomas Countryman and Robert Einhorn, are expected to participate. It is not known who the U.S. government will send as its incumbent representative.

S. Korea to send working-level diplomat to Moscow nonproliferation conference - 1


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