Kang, Tillerson to discuss N.K. ahead of historic summits

SEOUL, The top diplomats of South Korea and the United States will meet later this week to discuss details on their planned summits with North Korea, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha will meet with her U.S. counterpart Rex Tillerson in Washington on Friday (local time), according to the ministry.

The meeting comes after the North recently agreed to hold summits with South Korea and the U.S. The agreements came out of a recent trip by President Moon Jae-in's special envoys to Pyongyang, where they met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

"Minister Kang will share the fast changing developments surrounding the Korean Peninsula and discuss ways to strengthen close coordination and the alliance between the two countries," foreign ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk told reporters during a regular press briefing.

"Those protectionist measures taken by the U.S. and other pending issues related to economy and trade will also be among the things to be discussed," he added.

During her three-day stay in the U.S. that will start Thursday, Kang will also meet with congressional leaders to discuss the North's nuclear issues and other matters of mutual concern and ask for their continued support, he noted.

The spokesman said it will be more "critical" than ever to hold close and transparent consultations between the allies before the historic summits with the North.

He added that South Korea will step up its diplomatic efforts to strengthen global coordination aimed at making the upcoming summits a "watershed" that could go down in history as a great success.

Meanwhile, asked if the Seoul government will seek a complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement (CVID) of North Korea's nuclear program in its inter-Korean talks and in other multilateral negotiations, he said, "Yes."

"Our government has made it clear on several occasions that we will seek a CVID of the North's nuclear weapons program," he said.

Ahead of the proposed back-to-back summits with the reclusive state, attention is moving toward what road map and platform should be employed effectively in forcing the regime to give up its nuclear weapons program.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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