U.S. rights envoy cancels trip to Seoul

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U.S. rights envoy cancels trip to Seoul

Robert King, U.S. Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues, canceled a trip to South Korea, the foreign ministry said yesterday.

“Ambassador King has notified us that he canceled his visit to the South,” a South Korean Foreign Ministry official told reporters yesterday. “[The U.S. government] didn’t elaborate why.”

The U.S. State Department announced Friday King’s five-day visit to Seoul. He was supposed to arrive in Seoul yesterday and meet with high-ranking government officials, including his counterpart Lim Sung-nam, special representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs of the Foreign Ministry.

In particular, King was scheduled to attend an international meeting in Seoul on North Korean human rights and make an address on the issue.

After his visit to Seoul, he was supposed to depart for Tokyo Friday and stay there until Saturday.

The Foreign Ministry didn’t say whether King also canceled his trip to Tokyo. The canceling of the trip came after North Korea fired three short-range guided missiles toward the northeast sea, which prompted condemnations from Seoul and Washington.

The cancellation also followed a visit to Pyongyang by Japan’s Cabinet Secretariat Adviser Isao Iijima, who reportedly asked for resolution of the issue of Japanese abductees held by the reclusive regime. Iijima returned to Tokyo Saturday.

By Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr]
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