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FM leaves for U.S. to attend U.N. General Assembly

South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se left for New York on Saturday to attend the U.N. General Assembly meeting, part of his brisk diplomacy to craft tough international sanctions against North Korea over its latest nuclear test.

During his attendance at the U.N. meeting between Saturday and Thursday, Yun plans to hold a series of bilateral and multilateral meetings with his foreign counterparts, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, to discuss ways to further raise pressure on Pyongyang to renounce its nuclear ambitions.

In defiance of international warnings, the communist state carried out its fifth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 9, sparking intense criticism from the international community, including its major ally China.

"I'm going to pursue omnidirectional diplomacy with the entire world," Yun told reporters before departing from Incheon International Airport. "I'll discuss with member countries how to combine forces and respond strongly to North Korea's behavior which poses a grave threat to world peace and security."
 
Photo taken on Sept. 10, shows South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se attending a meeting with senior ministry officials at the ministry's building in central Seoul. (Yonhap)
Photo taken on Sept. 10, shows South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se attending a meeting with senior ministry officials at the ministry's building in central Seoul. (Yonhap)
On Sunday, Yun is scheduled to have a trilateral meeting with his U.S. and Japanese counterparts to discuss three-way cooperation in quickly drawing up additional U.N. sanctions against the North, Seoul officials said.

The top diplomats of the three countries are also expected to exchange views on ways to bring China and Russia on board ongoing efforts to enact fresh international sanctions on the North.

Beijing and Moscow have agreed to the enforcement of tough sanctions on Pyongyang, but they have shown reluctance over a sanctions-centric approach in handling the North Korean issue.

Aside from the trilateral meeting, Yun also plans to hold separate bilateral talks with Kerry and Kishida over how to cope with the North's escalating nuclear threats.

Sources said that Yun currently has no plans yet for bilateral talks with Chinese and Russian Foreign Ministers Wang Yi and Sergei Lavrov.

During his attendance at the U.N. General Assembly session, Yun is set to deliver a keynote speech, possibly on Thursday, a source said.

He is expected to use the speech to highlight the urgency of the North's evolving nuclear threats and the importance of global unity in tackling them. Pyongyang's dismal human rights record is also likely to be touched on in his planned speech, the source said.

Meanwhile, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho will also attend the U.N. General Assembly. Observers say that Ri is expected to argue that his country has been pushing to bolster its nuclear deterrence due to Washington's "hostile" policy towards it. (Yonhap)
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