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S. Korean FM departs for Russia for talks on N. Korea, bilateral issues

South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan left for Russia on Saturday to hold bilateral talks that are expected to focus on North Korea and other issues concerning the two nations.

During his four-day trip, Kim will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Monday and discuss North Korea's nuclear weapons programs among other topics, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said. The meeting comes amid a flurry of diplomatic shuffling over the possible resumption of the stalled six-party denuclearization talks involving the two Koreas, Russia, China, Japan and the United States.

A series of rare meetings held last month between senior Pyongyang officials and their counterparts in Seoul and Washington raised hopes for a resumption of the six-way forum that was last held in December 2008. Wi Sung-lac, South Korea's chief envoy to the negotiations, is accompanying Kim on his first trip to Russia since taking office last October.

The South Korean and Russian ministers are also expected to discuss expanding cooperation on bilateral and international issues, with Kim planning to meet with other Russian government officials, lawmakers and experts on issues regarding the Korean Peninsula and international affairs during his stay, the ministry said earlier. (Yonhap News)