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U.S. rights envoy to visit S. Korea amid talk of additional

The U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights issues will visit South Korea this week for a conference on Pyongyang's human rights record and meetings with senior officials, the State Department said Sunday.

Ambassador Robert King will be in Seoul from Monday to Thursday for "a symposium on North Korean human rights issues and regular consultations with senior Republic of Korea officials on a range of human rights and humanitarian issues," the department said in a release.

The United States is trying to increase pressure on the North for forging ahead with its nuclear and missile programs even though the U.N. Security Council adopted the strongest-ever sanctions on the regime for its fourth nuclear test.

Last week, Pyongyang claimed success in the test-firing of a Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile. Even though it was the sixth attempt after five failures, the test showed the North is making progress in its missile program. Sources have said that the U.S could impose additional sanctions on the North over its human rights abuses.

The North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act, enacted in February, calls for the government to submit a specific report on Pyongyang's human rights abuses within 120 days.

Under the law, the State Department could soon announce sanctions blacklisting about 10 North Korean officials for human rights violations, the sources said. (Yonhap)


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