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(2nd LD) Spy chiefs of S. Korea, Japan, U.S. meet and discuss N. Korea

North Korea 14:42 May 12, 2021

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, first 4 paras with updated info)

TOKYO/SEOUL, May 12 (Yonhap) -- The intelligence chiefs of South Korea, Japan and the United States held a meeting in Tokyo on Wednesday and exchanged views on North Korea and other relevant issues, informed diplomatic sources said.

Park Jie-won, head of South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS), met with Hiroaki Takizawa, Japan's cabinet intelligence director, and U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines at an undisclosed place in Tokyo earlier in the day, according to the sources.

They exchanged views on North Korea, China and other geopolitical issues surrounding the Northeast Asian region, the sources said. Other details are not available and Seoul's NIS also declined to comment on Park's visit to Japan.

The behind-the-door meeting came after the new U.S. administration of President Joe Biden recently wrapped up its monthslong policy review on the North. The meeting also took place amid Washington's calls for stepped-up cooperation with its Asian allies in the face of its deepening rivalry with Beijing.

Separately, Park and Takizawa met on Tuesday and discussed cooperation on North Korea and other bilateral issues, according to Japanese media reports.

Relations between South Korea and Japan remain frayed over their prolonged row regarding wartime forced labor and sexual slavery issues.

On Wednesday, Park is also expected to speak by phone with Toshihiro Nikai, No. 2 of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, media reports said.

Meanwhile, Haines will likely travel to South Korea on Wednesday after attending the trilateral spy chiefs' meeting, according to Japanese media reports.

She is expected to visit the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas and arrangements are also being made for her meetings with Moon and Suh Hoon, the president's national security adviser, they said.

A government source in Seoul said that the U.S. spy chief is likely to arrive at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul, late Wednesday and expected to begin her schedule the following day.

Park Jie-won (L), head of South Korea's National Intelligence Service, arrives at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on May 11, 2021, to head for Japan to attend a meeting with his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, in this photo captured from Yonhap News TV. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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