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S. Korea’s nuclear envoy to visit Japan this week

South Korea’s new chief envoy to the stalled six-nation talks on North Korea’s nuclear weapons programs will travel to Japan this week to coordinate a joint strategy on efforts to revive the multilateral forum, officials said Tuesday.

Lim Sung-nam, who was appointed to the post last week in a routine personnel reshuffle, will start a three-day trip to Japan Thursday, where he will meet with his Japanese counterpart Shinsuke Sugiyama, the foreign ministry said.

Lim’s trip to Japan comes days before Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is to visit South Korea for summit talks with President Lee Myung-bak next week.

The new nuclear envoy is also expected to visit Russia this month, ministry officials said.

The six-party talks, involving the two Koreas, the United States, China, Russia and Japan, have been dormant since April 2009 when Pyongyang left the negotiating table then conducted its second nuclear test a month later.

While Pyongyang is now calling for a resumption of the multilateral talks without preconditions, Seoul and Washington insist that the North must demonstrate its sincerity to the talks with actions, including a monitored suspension of all nuclear activities, before the six-party talks can take place.

Last month in Beijing, chief nuclear envoys from the two Koreas met for the second time in nearly two months to discuss terms for resuming the multilateral forum, but no tangible progress was reported.

North Korean and U.S. officials also met separately in New York in late July and, South Korean officials said, the two sides would hold a second round of meeting later this month. 

(Yonhap News)
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