The Korea Herald


South Korea eyes vice FM talks with U.S., Japan

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : Jan. 3, 2016 - 16:49

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South Korea is trying to schedule a meeting of vice foreign ministers with the United States and Japan, a government official here said Sunday.

Confirming an earlier report by NHK, the official said, "The three countries are trying to hammer out details, and we will make an announcement when they are confirmed."

NHK said earlier Sunday that the meeting, likely to take place sometime in January in Tokyo, will bring together South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken, and Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki.

If finalized, the meeting will come on the heels of an agreement between Seoul and Tokyo on resolving the issue of some Korean women's sexual enslavement by Japanese troops during World War II. The three countries are expected to discuss strengthening their trilateral cooperation and also their response to North Korea's nuclear and missile threats. Other pressing regional security matters could also be on the agenda.

The first meeting of its kind took place in Washington in April last year, with Blinken, Saiki and then South Korean Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yong. Lim succeeded Cho last October.

"After the first meeting last year, there was a consensus to have another round of talks, and we've been in talks on the timing of the second meeting," the South Korean government official said.

"Since Lim Sung-nam took over as vice foreign minister, we've been reviewing opportunities to visit a neighboring country in early 2016."

Lim could also meet separately with Blinken and Saiki in separate bilateral talks on the sidelines of the three-way meeting, the official added. (Yonhap)