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Kerry to discuss DPRK issues in Seoul: S Korea


13:36, April 10, 2013

SEOUL, April 9 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will hold talks in Seoul later this week with his South Korean counterpart on issues related the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), South Korea's foreign ministry said Tuesday.

Kerry, scheduled to arrive in Seoul on Friday afternoon, will meet with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se later in the day, foreign ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young told reporters at a regular press briefing. After the meeting, they will hold a joint press conference.

"At this meeting, (Kerry and Yun) will discuss the situation on the Korean Peninsula related to the heightened threats by the DPRK, how to cooperate on the DPRK issue and South Korean president's travel to the U.S. in May," Cho said.

Cho noted that it would be very unusual for the two nations' top diplomats to hold talks twice in 10 days, saying that it represents the willingness of both sides to build a new, cooperative relationship.

During the two-day visit, the top American envoy is set to pay a courtesy call to South Korean President Park Geun-hye and have a face-to-face talk with South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin.

A week earlier, Kerry held the first bilateral talks with Yun in Washington, reaffirming U.S. defense commitment to South Korea.

The second talks in 10 days came amid escalating tensions in the Korean Peninsula. The DPRK said it will restart operations at its Yongbyon nuclear complex, including a uranium enrichment plant and a five-megawatt graphite moderated reactor that had been " mothballed and disabled" since October 2007 under an agreement reached at the six-party talks.

Defense Minister Kim told lawmakers last week that the DPRK moved intermediate-range missiles to its east coast.

The missiles, estimated to be 'Musudan' that have a range of between 3,000 and 4,000 kilometers, were feared to be fired off before April 15 when Pyongyang celebrates the birthday of Kim Il- sung, the founder of the DPRK and the late grandfather of Kim Jung- un.

Meanwhile, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former Danish prime minister, will visit Seoul for the first time as head of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Thursday for a three-day visit, according to the foreign ministry spokesman.

During his visit, Rasmussen will pay a courtesy call to President Park and have talks with Foreign Minister Yun and Defense Minister Kim.

The foreign ministry spokesman said this visit was anticipated to send a strong message to the DPRK's efforts to develop nuclear weapons and provocative threats.

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