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Biegun to visit Seoul for talks on alliance, N. Korea

All News 08:52 December 07, 2020

By Kim Seung-yeon

SEOUL, Dec. 7 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun will visit Seoul this week for talks with South Korean officials about alliance issues and the stalled nuclear dialogue with North Korea, officials said Monday.

The four-day trip starting Tuesday is expected to be Biegun's last visit to Seoul as the No. 2 American diplomat and the U.S. point man on North Korea before the administration of President Donald Trump ends its four-year term.

"He will meet with officials in the Republic of Korea to discuss the U.S.-ROK Alliance and our shared commitment to regional security, stability, and prosperity throughout the Indo-Pacific, and continued close coordination on North Korea," the State Department said in a statement.

On Wednesday, Biegun will meet with First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun before holding talks with Seoul's chief nuclear negotiator, Lee Do-hoon, to discuss the prolonged deadlock in the denuclearization talks with Pyongyang, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha plans to host a banquet for him Friday.

Biegun's trip comes amid concern that North Korea could make provocations to test the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden. His discussions are expected to focus on ways to keep the situation on the Korean Peninsula stable.

Other issues Biegun could discuss in Seoul include the stalled negotiations between the two countries to determine South Korea's share of the costs to maintain 28,500 American troops stationed here.

The file photo taken Sept. 29, 2020, shows U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun speaking to reporters in Washington, D.C. (Yonhap)


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