U.S. sends three envoys to meet Park, transition team

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U.S. sends three envoys to meet Park, transition team


A group of United States officials in charge of foreign affairs and security will visit Korea next week for consultation in the wake of last month’s presidential election, Victoria Nuland, spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, confirmed Wednesday.

“Assistant Secretary [of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt] Campbell is on his way to Seoul and then to Tokyo to consult following the elections in both countries,” Nuland said. Accompanying Campbell will be National Security Council Senior Director for Asian Affairs Daniel Russel and Mark Lippert, assistant defense secretary for Asian and Pacific security affairs in the U.S. Department of Defense.

The team, led by Campbell, will arrive in Seoul next Tuesday for a two-day visit and leave for Tokyo on Wednesday. Japan also had a parliamentary election last month in which the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won power from the Democratic Party of Japan. Following the election, Shinzo Abe, head of the LDP, was made prime minister, succeeding Yoshihiko Noda.

The three U.S. officials are important figures at the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon dealing with the Korean Peninsula. Campbell is the right-hand man of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and concentrates on Asia. Russel is a foreign affairs and security adviser at the White House, who is being considered to succeed Campbell, along with Michael Schiffer, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs. Assistant Secretary Lippert served as chief of staff of the National Security Council in 2009.

“It’s a good chance for us, in an interagency way, to see both countries after the elections,” Nuland said.

A diplomatic source in Washington told the JoongAng Ilbo, “Campbell and his group will meet with President-elect Park Geun-hye and also her transition team members in charge of foreign affairs and security.” That wasn’t confirmed in Seoul.

“It will be the first time Korea’s incoming administration and Obama’s administration will meet and explain each other’s foreign affairs and security policies,” the source said. “There is a possibility that Senior Director Russel will deliver a message from President Obama to President-elect Park that includes an invitation to Washington.”

The officials will be arriving in Seoul a day after Park’s transition team is due to receive a briefing from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Monday.

By Lee Eun-joo, Park Seung-hee [angie@joongang.co.kr]

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