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Vice FM Choi to meet Biegun in Washington Thursday

Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun (Yonhap)
Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun (Yonhap)

First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun will meet with US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun in Washington on Thursday to discuss bilateral relations, the regional situation and other issues, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. 

“During the talks, the two sides are planning to have comprehensive consultations on the overall South Korea-US relations, regional situation and issues of mutual interest,” Kim In-chul, the ministry’s spokesperson, said in a regular briefing Tuesday. 

The Vice Minister is set to depart to Washington on Wednesday and meet with Biegun on Thursday for their first in-person meeting since Choi’s appointment last month. He is to return to Seoul on Saturday. As to whether Choi will meet other officials while in Washington, a ministry official said nothing has been decided at this time. 

The two held their first phone talks last week, vowing to meet face-to-face at the earliest date. 

Choi and Biegun will likely discuss pending issues, in particular their deadlocked defense cost-sharing negotiations for the upkeep of 28,500 American troops stationed here, as well as a stalemate in nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang. They could also touch on US President Donald Trump’s invitation for South Korea to participate in the upcoming G-7 summit. 

Observers view Washington could also request Seoul to take side with the US amid the escalating US-China rivalry.

By Ahn Sung-mi (sahn@heraldcorp.com)
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