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Allies at crucial moment on N. Korea: officials

2015/09/23 11:48

SEOUL, Sept. 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States stand at a crucial juncture over the North Korea issue, senior officials said Wednesday, amid Pyongyang's move to fire a long-range rocket.

In a meeting with visiting chief U.S. nuclear envoy Sung Kim, Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yong said his trip is "timely," given the North Korea challenge facing the allies.

"As you said, it is an important period in terms of our North Korea coordination," Kim replied.

After exchanging brief opening remarks in front of the media, they went into closed-door consultations.

Kim, the U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, arrived in Seoul on Tuesday to attend the Korea-U.S. Integrated Defense Dialogue this week.

He doubles as U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Japan and Korea.

Kim told reporters earlier that his visit is intended for "close coordination on North Korea" and discussion on President Park Geun-hye's visit to Washington, D.C. next month.

The allies are on high alert again as the North announced plans to launch what it claims to be a rocket carrying a satellite on the occasion of the 70th founding anniversary of its communist party that falls on Oct. 10.

The North also hinted at the possibility of another nuclear test. It stopped short of revealing a specific time frame for the possible strategic provocations.

South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yong (R) poses for a photo with Sung Kim, special U.S. representative for North Korea policy, during their meeting at the foreign ministry in Seoul on Sept. 23, 2015. (Yonhap)South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yong (R) poses for a photo with Sung Kim, special U.S. representative for North Korea policy, during their meeting at the foreign ministry in Seoul on Sept. 23, 2015. (Yonhap) lcd@yna.co.kr

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