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Kerry to visit S. Korea next week: source

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit South Korea next week to discuss pending bilateral issues ahead of President Park Geun-hye's trip to Washington, a diplomatic source said Monday.

   "Secretary Kerry is scheduled to arrive in Seoul around May 17.

He plans to stay overnight," the source said. "Discussions are under way (between the two nations) about his detailed itinerary."

   On the table during his expected meetings with his counterpart Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and President Park "would be the assessment of the situation on the Korean Peninsula, and Park's planned visit to the U.S. in mid-June, among other bilateral issues," the source said.

   According to government sources, Park plans to make an "official working visit" to the U.S. in mid-June for talks with Barack Obama to discuss ways to strengthen alliance and boost coordination to better deter the belligerent North Korea.

   "Kerry also plans to visit Beijing while traveling in Northeast Asia this time, but to skip Japan," the diplomatic source added.

   Kerry last visited South Korea in February 2014. (Yonhap)