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S. Korea, U.S. to hold foreign, defense ministerial talks over N. Korea

2016/09/25 13:35

SEOUL, Sept. 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States will hold a joint meeting of their foreign and defense ministers next month in the face of continued North Korean threats, a diplomatic source in Seoul said Sunday.

The source said the two allies are working on further details of the meeting to take place in Washington, including specific schedules and topics for discussion.

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se (R) meets with U.S. State Secretary John Kerry in Laos on July 25, 2016. (Yonhap file photo) South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se (R) meets with U.S. State Secretary John Kerry in Laos on July 25, 2016. (Yonhap file photo)

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Defense Minister Han Min-koo will sit down with State Secretary John Kerry and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test earlier this month and tested a new rocket engine, which experts say proves the regime's significant progress in its missile program.

South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo (R) meets with U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in Singapore on June 4, 2016. (AP-Yonhap file photo) South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo (R) meets with U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in Singapore on June 4, 2016. (AP-Yonhap file photo)

Against this backdrop, the diplomatic source said the main focus of the upcoming meeting will be on strengthening extended deterrence against the North.

President Barack Obama and Kerry have both discussed providing Seoul with extended deterrence, and the ministers this time are expected to put that commitment in writing in their joint statement.

The four participants are also expected to discuss taking coordinated steps against additional North Korean provocations and strengthening sanctions on Pyongyang.

jeeho@yna.co.kr

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