S. Korea, China to hold '2+2' high-level diplomatic security talks next week
June 11, 2024 11:43am
President Yoon Suk Yeol (Left) shakes hands with Chinese Premier Li Qiang after holding a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida following their trilateral summit in Seoul on May 27. (The presidential office)

South Korea and China are expected to hold "two plus two" talks of their senior foreign and defense officials early next week, diplomatic sources said Tuesday, amid rising tensions from North Korea's provocations and the prospect of another summit between the North and Russia.

The vice-ministerial diplomatic and security dialogue is expected to take place in Seoul early next week, and the two sides are fine-tuning the details on the arrangement, the sources familiar with the matter said.

The talks come at a time when renewed tensions on the Korean Peninsula are intensifying after the North's multiple launches of trash-carrying balloons across the border into the South in protest of the sending of anti-Pyongyang leaflets by North Korean defectors and activist groups.

South Korea responded with resuming the propaganda loudspeaker broadcasts toward the North. Pyongyang has warned of further counteraction if Seoul continues the psychological warfare and leafleting.

The talks will also come as Russian President Vladimir Putin is widely expected to visit North Korea for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in what will be Putin's reciprocal trip to Pyongyang following their rare September summit in Russia's Far East last year.

The current security landscape and developments on and around the Korean Peninsula will likely be high on the agenda for the expected talks next week.

The talks, if realized, will likely be led by First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Hong-kyun and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong.

Defense officials at the director general level are expected to join the dialogue.

The two sides could also discuss bilateral and other issues of common interests, including China's strategic competition with the United States, the expanding military ties between Pyongyang and Moscow, and the cross-strait issues.

Holding the two plus two talks was part of the agreement reached between the two countries when President Yoon Suk Yeol met one-on-one with Chinese Premier Li Qiang for talks on the margins of the trilateral summit with Japan late last month.

They agreed to elevate the dialogue format to the vice-ministerial level. The previous talks took place among the director generals in 2013 and 2015. (Yonhap)