Vietnam will be stage for meeting of Lee, Clinton

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Vietnam will be stage for meeting of Lee, Clinton

President Lee Myung-bak will meet U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Vietnam over the weekend to discuss the potential for resuming the six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear disarmament, according to the U.S. State Department.

Kurt Campbell, the assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific affairs, told reporters yesterday that Clinton will meet Lee in Hanoi during her trip this weekend to attend major diplomatic events in the Vietnamese capital.

Lee and Clinton will be attending the Asean Plus Three Summit on Friday and the East Asia Summit on Saturday.

“One of the things that Secretary Clinton will want to discuss with her Korean counterpart and also with the president is Korea’s views on the way forward associated with both their direct diplomacy with North Korea, and also the prospect for resumption of the six-party talks,” Campbell was quoted as saying by Yonhap news agency.

Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Kim Sung-hwan, who will accompany Lee to Hanoi, will also meet with Clinton, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday.

The upcoming encounter is gaining attention because it will be the biggest multinational gathering in Asia before the G-20 Summit in Seoul.

The six-party talks, which also involve Japan, Russia, China and North Korea, were halted in April of last year when the North walked away from the negotiations and conducted a nuclear test a month later. But the North has showed a willingness recently to return to the negotiations, with China’s backing.

Kim is scheduled to meet his counterparts from Japan, Russia and China in Vietnam and said it remains to be seen what agreements can be reached.

Kim also reiterated Seoul’s stance that it will continue to seek an apology from the North over the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan in March.

The meetings in Hanoi will be Kim’s international debut as Korean foreign minister.

Diplomatic sources said that Kim will likely talk with Japan’s Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara about the return of Joseon Dynasty royal documents.

By Moon Gwang-lip []
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