World / Asia-Pacific

Senior US envoy to visit S.Korea this week for DPRK talks

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-02-25 16:04
SEOUL - A senior US diplomat will make a two-day visit to South Korea this week for talks about the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s nuclear and missile programs, Seoul's foreign ministry said Thursday.

Assistant US Secretary of State for Northeast Asian affairs Daniel Russel will visit Seoul from Friday to Saturday to meet South Korean officials, including First Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-Nam and Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Hong-Kyun, Seoul's foreign ministry spokesman Cho June-Hyuck told a regular press briefing.

Russel will discuss with his South Korean counterparts about ways of cooperation between Seoul and Washington in dealing with the DPRK's rocket launch and nuclear test, including sanctions at the UN Security Council as well as bilateral and multilateral restrictions, the spokesman said.

Cho said that fresh UN Security Council resolutions, which include stronger and more effective factors than ever, have been in the final stage of coordination among relevant parties following talks earlier this week between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Pyongyang tested what it claimed was its first hydrogen bomb on Jan. 6 and went ahead with the launch of a long-range rocket, which outsiders see as a banned test of ballistic missile technology, on Feb. 7.

Seoul has since pushed for all-round pressures on the DPRK by encouraging the international community to come up with tougher new sanctions. South Korea has claimed that stronger restrictions would create an environment forcing change in Pyongyang and make the DPRK pay a harsh price for "reckless provocations."

Three days after the rocket launch, South Korea decided to stop operations at a jointly-run factory park in the DPRK's border city of Kaesong. The DPRK responded a day later by closing down the industrial zone, deporting all South Korean workers and freezing assets there.

Dismissing calls for simultaneous push for denuclearization and peace treaty on the Korean peninsula, Cho said that it is high time to focus on creating an environment to force change in the DPRK rather than to talk about resuming dialogue with Pyongyang.

South Korea has maintained its position that the DPRK's denuclearization should be a top priority in any talks with the DPRK, Cho noted.
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