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Kerry has no plan to meet with North Korean FM on sidelines of ARF

Aug. 5, 2014 - 09:41 By 정주원
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has no plan to meet one-on-one with his counterpart from North Korea on the sidelines of an upcoming regional security conference in Myanmar, his spokeswoman said Monday.

Kerry is scheduled to make a three-day visit to Naypyitaw, the capital of Myanmar, this weekend to attend a set of annual meetings led by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, including Asia's biggest annual security gathering, known as the ASEAN Regional Forum.

ARF and other ASEAN talks have drawn attention because they provide participating foreign ministers with chances to hold one-on-one meetings with each other on the sidelines of multilateral conferences. ARF is also one of the rare international gatherings that North Korea has regularly attended.

The North's foreign minister, Ri Su-yong, is expected to attend this year's meeting.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, however, flatly rejected the possibility of Kerry meeting with Ri.

"There is no plan for that. Nor do I anticipate that's something that would take place," she said at a regular press briefing in response to a question whether the top American diplomat would be willing to meet bilaterally with his North Korean counterpart if Pyongyang so requests.

Psaki said that North Korea should refrain from taking provocative actions and instead fulfill its international obligations and commitment. She also said, "The U.S. remains steadfast in our commitment to the defense of our allies ... and we will continue to coordinate closely with South Korea."

North Korea has called for the unconditional resumption of the six-party denuclearization talks with the United States and other nations, which have been stalled since late 2008. Seoul and Washington have demanded Pyongyang first take concrete steps demonstrating its commitment to denuclearization. (Yonhap)