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U.S. nuclear envoy to meet major S. Korean presidential contenders

2017/03/21 10:04

SEOUL, March 21 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. envoy on the North Korean nuclear issue will meet with South Korea's major presidential contenders to exchange views on North Korea and other diplomatic polices, sources said Tuesday.

Joseph Yun, special representative for North Korea policy of the State Department, is in Seoul for talks with senior South Korean government officials.

Yun came to Seoul late Monday from Beijing where he met with Chinese officials to discuss their policy coordination over the North's growing nuclear and missile threats. He is to stay here until Thursday.

During his stay in South Korea, Yun is said to hold meetings with major presidential hopefuls, and their key diplomatic and security advisers, the sources said.

The politicians he is to meet reportedly include Moon Jae-in, former leader of the largest Democratic Party; South Chungcheong Province Gov. An Hee-jung; and Ahn Cheol-soo, a former co-chair of the People's Party, they said.

A campaign official told Yonhap News Agency that the meeting was arranged at the request of the U.S. side. He said that the meeting will be held Tuesday but didn't elaborate further.

South Korea is to hold an early presidential election on May 9 following the top court's ruling to oust Park Geun-hye as president earlier this month over a massive corruption scandal.

Observers say that Yun is expected to use the meetings with the politicians to reaffirm the strong alliance between South Korea and the U.S., as well as the need for continued policy coordination on diplomatic and other fronts, whoever becomes the next head of state in South Korea.