US senior diplomat to visit Seoul to discuss NK

By Jung Min-kyung

Published : Oct 11, 2017 - 16:54
Updated : Oct 11, 2017 - 16:54

A US senior diplomat will visit Seoul next week to strengthen diplomatic alliance and talk about impending issues that concern both nations, Seoul’s Foreign Ministry said Wednesday. 

US Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan (AP)


US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan will hold a strategic dialogue with South Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-han on Oct. 18. The two are expected to tackle issues involving North Korea’s nuclear and missile development along with its ongoing threats to the allies and international community.

The meeting will also act as a preparation stage for US President Donald Trump’s planned trip to South Korea in November. Trump may visit the heavily fortified demilitarized zone near the inter-Korean border during the tour, Yonhap News Agency said, citing an unnamed defense source.

It will mark the first of its kind under the Moon Jae-in administration and the seventh overall. The previous meeting was held in Washington in June 2014.

A trilateral discussion involving Lim, Sullivan and their Japanese counterpart Shinsuke Sugiyama will also take place on the day of the meeting. Also, Lim and Sugiyama are set to hold a separate bilateral meeting, according to the ministry.

Sullivan’s visit comes amid heightened military tension on the Korean peninsula coupled with a recent war of words between Pyongyang and Trump.

On Tuesday, two US Air Force B-1B strategic bombers from Guam flew over the peninsula with South Korean fighter jets in an apparent show of force against the rogue regime, said the South‘s Joint Chiefs of Staff on Wednesday.

North Korea has been expressing strong distaste against such drills with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho saying that the US military planes will be shot down should they approach North Korea airspace, while attending the UN General Assembly in New York last month.

The US President also said that his nation is totally prepared for military option in North Korea after Ri hinted of a hydrogen bomb test over the Pacific Ocean.

By Jung Min-kyung (mkjung@heraldcorp.com)

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