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Korea's top diplomat seeks bilateral meetings with major countries at UN gathering

South Korea's top diplomat is pushing to have bilateral talks with major countries, including the United States and Japan, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly this week, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha is in New York to accompany President Moon Jae-in, who will attend the annual gathering of representatives of UN member states, which starts Tuesday (local time).

"A foreign ministerial meeting between South Korea and Japan will be held, the details of which are currently being arranged," Cho June-hyuck, foreign ministry spokesman, told a regular press briefing. "Negotiations for a meeting with the US are also under way."
South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck (Yonhap)
South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck (Yonhap)

Cho said that the ministry is making arrangements to hold bilateral meetings with top diplomats from around seven or eight countries, including Germany and France in addition to the US and Japan.

"She will also meet with high-ranking UN officials during her stay," the spokesman said, adding that the minister will stay in New York for a few more days after President Moon returns home for necessary diplomatic appointments.

Kang's trip to New York comes amid rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula in the wake of North Korea's continued provocations, including missile and nuclear tests.

Her meetings with other diplomats will likely focus on exchanging views on the latest security conditions and discussing cooperation against the evolving threat from the North.

With regard to decisions made by some countries, such as Peru, Mexico and Kuwait, to deport North Korean diplomats, Cho said that should be seen as those countries' firm commitment to not allow the reclusive state nuclear weapons and as a "strong warning" against Pyongyang's continued threats.

"Such stern actions," the spokesman said, "are expected to help other relevant measures taken by individual countries and the international community to induce the North to go down the denuclearization road." (Yonhap)