South Korea, the United States and Japan are trying to schedule a three-way vice foreign ministerial meeting in Seoul sometime in April, a government source here said Sunday.
If it materializes, it will be the second meeting of South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki this year. The three diplomats previously met in Tokyo on Jan. 16,
10 days after North Korea's fourth nuclear test.
The first trilateral meeting involving the three nations was held in Washington last April, when Cho Tae-yong was the South Korean representative.
The three diplomats are expected to discuss their cooperation on implementing sanctions on North Korea following the adoption of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 2270. The three could also talk about sending a strong warning message to Pyongyang, which recently threatened to launch nuclear strikes.
At the trilateral summit with South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week, U.S.
President Barack Obama called for stronger security cooperation with Seoul and Tokyo to deter North Korea.
Obama said he has directed U.S. officials "to work diligently... to elaborate additional steps that we can take collectively in order to ensure that we have a denuclearized Korean Peninsula and that we can restore a sense of stability and peace to the region."
At the next vice foreign ministerial talk Japan may also bring up signing a military intelligence-sharing agreement with South Korea.
The neighbors had earlier tried to sign a General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) to share intelligence on North Korea in 2012. Their efforts were put on hold at the last minute, however, amid public protests against the government's secretly arranged push for the deal with the former colonial ruler.
In light of the recent trilateral summit in Washington, Japanese media reported that Seoul and Tokyo had agreed to open discussions on signing the GSOMIA. However, Kim Kyou-hyun, South Korea's senior presidential secretary for foreign affairs, denied Seoul was ready to revisit the issue.
"Regarding this matter, the mood at home has to be right," Kim said. "Our stance hasn't changed and the United States (which has been coaxing the two to sign the deal) understands our position." (Yonhap)