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S. Korea, U.S., Japan nuke envoys to discuss N. Korean missile, assassination

2017/02/23 16:13

SEOUL, Feb. 23 (Yonhap) -- Senior officials from South Korea, the United States and Japan will meet in Washington next week to coordinate their policies toward North Korea, including the recent assassination of its leader's half brother, according to the foreign ministry Thursday.

The three countries' top envoys on the North Korean nuclear issue will sit together on Monday in their first joint meeting since the President Donald Trump administration took office last month.

"The meeting will be taking place very timely against the backdrop of North Korea's provocation of launching a new type of ballistic missile and the assassination of Kim Jong-nam," ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck said in a briefing.

"The upcoming consultation will deal with the three countries' trilateral action plans over the possibility of North Korea's various provocations and handle in detail, ways to bring the North to the path toward sincere denuclearization through faithful implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions and the three countries' separate sanctions," the spokesman noted.

The meeting will involve South Korea's special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs Kim Hong-kyun and his American and Japanese counterparts, Joseph Yun and Kenji Kanasugi, respectively.

During his trip to Washington, Kim will also hold separate bilateral meetings with Yun and Kanasugi, and meet with other U.S. officials, congressmen and academics, the official said.

The trilateral meeting came after Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson set the tone for their cooperation against North Korea under the new U.S. administration during their talks in Bonn, Germany, last week.

They reaffirmed their determination to secure the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of North Korea's nuclear weapons program and vowed to work together toward the goal.

On Feb. 12, North Korea test-fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile using solid fuel and a mobile launcher, demonstrating progress in the country's nuclear weapons delivery capability.

Last week, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jung-un was assassinated with poison in Malaysia. Several North Koreans, including a diplomat, were named as suspects.