S. Korea, U.S., Japan arrange meeting to discuss N.K. issue

SEOUL-- South Korea, the United States and Japan are arranging a meeting to coordinate their joint response toward North Korea's nuclear and missile threats amid growing concerns that Pyongyang might carry out a major provocation, a foreign ministry official here said Tuesday.

A Japanese media report said earlier that top nuclear envoys of the three countries are planning to hold a trilateral meeting in Tokyo later this month, citing multiple government officials.

"We are in consultations with the other two countries to set the date for the meeting," a foreign ministry official said on the customary condition of anonymity.

He said that there is a need to hold such a meeting in that South Korea has to share with the U.S. and Japan the results of its recent bilateral talks held with China on the North issue.

Kim Hong-kyun, special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs at the South Korean foreign ministry, met with his Chinese counterpart Wu Dawei in Seoul on Monday. They agreed to take stronger measures if the North carries out an additional nuclear or missile test.

Kim and his U.S. and Japanese counterparts -- Joseph Yun and Kenji Kanasugi -- held their latest trilateral meeting in Washington in February.

Tensions are running high around the Korean Peninsula amid speculation that the North might carry out an additional nuclear test or a long-range missile launch this month filled with big events which Pyongyang has often celebrated with a show of military force.

The U.S. dispatched the USS Carl Vinson, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, to waters off the divided peninsula amid signs of the North's provocations. The North warned of the "toughest" counteraction against the move.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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