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S. Korean, Japanese nuclear envoys discuss N. Korea threats

SEOUL — South Korean and Japanese representatives to the long-stalled six-party talks on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula on Thursday discussed diplomatic efforts to rein in North Korea’s provocative activities.


The meeting between Lee Do Hoon, South Korea’s special representative for the office of Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs, and Kenji Kanasugi, director general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, followed a three-way meeting the previous day that also included Joseph Yun, U.S. special representative for North Korea policy.


In the bilateral meeting in Seoul, Lee and Kanasugi agreed to further strengthen efforts to draw North Korea into a denuclearization process, including by having Russia and China play a constructive role, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said in a statement.


The officials also discussed “managing the situation on the Korean Peninsula in a stable way,” the ministry said, adding that the two sides agreed to meet more frequently to achieve the common goal of denuclearizing North Korea.


Russia and China, along with the two Koreas, the United States and Japan, form the six-party talks, which have been in deadlock since late 2008. North Korea pulled out of the talks in 2009, protesting condemnation at the United Nations of its nuclear and missile programs.


Vice foreign ministers from South Korea, Japan and the United States met on Wednesday in Seoul and agreed to make concerted diplomatic efforts over threats posed by North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.


The series of meetings come ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to East Asia in early November, which will include stops in Japan and South Korea.


Tensions have been running high since North Korea tested two long-range ballistic missiles in July and conducted its sixth nuclear test in September. North Korea last launched a ballistic missile in mid-September.

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