Tillerson’s visit to S.Korea ‘important, timely’ for joint approach to N.Korea: Seoul

The top U.S. diplomat’s visit to South Korea later this week is “important” and “timely” in that it will help the two allies draw up their detailed joint approach to North Korea and its growing nuclear and missile threats, Seoul’s foreign ministry said Tuesday.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will come to South Korea on Friday as part of his first Asia tour since inauguration that will also take him to Japan and China. He is to have meetings with senior government officials, including talks with Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se.

“At a time when the U.S. administration’s policy review on North Korea is in its final stages … and our joint approach to the North is materializing through meetings of (recent) foreign ministers and nuclear envoys, Tillerson’s visit to Korea is very important and timely,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck told a regular press briefing.

Tillerson met with Yun for about 20 minutes on the sidelines of a global gathering held in Bonn, Germany, last month. Their Seoul meeting scheduled for Friday marks their second face-to-face talks.

High on the agenda will be how to coordinate their joint approach toward the North and its nuclear capabilities. The ongoing diplomatic spat between South Korea and China over the installment of a U.S. missile defense system will also likely be among the major topics to be discussed.

Earlier, a government official told reporters on condition of anonymity that Tillerson’s upcoming visit is a “good” chance for South Korea to share its experiences on North Korea with the new U.S. government.

Tillerson’s trip also coincides with the political turmoil caused by the presidential impeachment. An election to fill the void will likely be held in early May, and during the two-month period, the prime minister will serve as acting president.

The spokesman reiterated that the government will maintain its diplomatic policy direction regardless of the fluid political situation here while seeking close cooperation with the U.S. to better cope with the North’s continued provocations, and its evolving missile and nuclear capabilities. (Yonhap)

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