Trilateral nuke talks set for Monday in Seoul

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Trilateral nuke talks set for Monday in Seoul

South Korea, the United States and Japan will hold high-level tripartite talks in Seoul early next week for consultations on North Korea following its failed launch of a long-range rocket last month, a Seoul official said yesterday.

The trilateral talks, set for Monday, will be led by Lim Sung-nam, South Korea’s chief nuclear envoy, and his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, Glyn Davies and Shinsuke Sugiyama, the foreign ministry official said on conditions of anonymity.

The security situation on the Korean Peninsula has grown increasingly tense after North Korea’s unsuccessful launch of a long-range rocket, drawing new sanctions from the U.N. Security Council. There is growing concern that the North could soon engage in new provocative acts, including a nuclear test or border violence.

“The nuclear envoys are expected to mainly assess the current situation on the Korean Peninsula and discuss the possibility of additional provocations from North Korea,” the official said.

In recent weeks, North Korea’s verbal threats against South Korea have become more specific and bellicose, warning that its military will turn the South Korean government and other targets into “ashes in three or four minutes.”

Last week, South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan said Seoul is “getting everything in a state of readiness to cope with any further provocation from North Korea.”

Despite a continuing cycle of provocations by North Korea, Kim said his government is working closely with the U.S., China, Japan and Russia to persuade the North to change its ways.

“We are intensifying strategic cooperation with the U.S., China, Japan and Russia to help North Korea change its attitude,” the minister said.

North Korea has proven its ability to make fissile bombs by carrying out two nuclear tests, both of plutonium-based munitions, in 2006 and 2009.

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