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Blinken to visit S. Korea next week for democracy summit

By Yonhap

Published : March 13, 2024 - 19:26

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken boards his plane upon departure from Norman Manley International Airport, in Kingston, Jamaica, on Monday. (AFP) US Secretary of State Antony Blinken boards his plane upon departure from Norman Manley International Airport, in Kingston, Jamaica, on Monday. (AFP)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit South Korea next week to attend a session of the Summit for Democracy, a US-led multination gathering formed to boost solidarity and shared values among democratic countries.

Blinken is expected to arrive at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, 60 kilometers south of Seoul, on Sunday, and take part in the ministerial segment of the forum Monday, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

He will also hold bilateral talks with his South Korean counterpart, Cho Tae-yul, during the trip here.

The expected talks come only weeks after Blinken and Cho met one-on-one in Washington while Cho was visiting the United States late last month. It was their first in-person talks since Cho took office in January.

Before that, the two top diplomats had also met in Rio de Janeiro at the foreign ministers' meeting of the Group of 20 nations in February.

It will be Blinken coming to South Korea again after just four months. He last visited Seoul in November last year and held talks with his then South Korean counterpart, Park Jin.

The Summit for Democracy is led by the US to reinforce the democratic bloc with like-minded countries in the face of various challenges posed by a rise in authoritarianism.

South Korea is hosting this year's summit, its third such session, set for March 18-20.

The ministerial sessions will be held on the first day, followed by panel discussions involving civic groups the next day. The leaders' session will take place virtually on the last day.

US President Joe Biden is set to attend the summit virtually.

The US hosted the inaugural session in 2021. The second session was co-hosted by the US, South Korea, Costa Rica, the Netherlands and Zambia. (Yonhap)