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Japan's top envoy visits Korea after a long time

13 April 2018, 01:36 | Franklin Nunez

(LEAD) S. Korea mulling ways to develop sustainable inter-Korean ties under sanctions

South Korean conservative heavyweight warns against “facade of peace” between two Koreas

South Korea's national security adviser has flown to Washington to meet his newly appointed U.S. counterpart John Bolton, an official said on Thursday (Apr 12) in Seoul, where concerns are growing over the American's hardline stance on the nuclear-armed North.

South Korea's national security adviser has flown to Washington to meet his newly appointed United States counterpart John Bolton, an official said on Thursday in Seoul, where concerns are growing over the American's hardline stance on the nuclear-armed North. Chung Eui-yong, who personally delivered Kim's summit offer to Trump last month, returned to the USA capital unannounced on Wednesday as the two allies plan their upcoming summits with North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

Although Seoul and Tokyo present a united front in tackling North Korea's nuclear issue, their bilateral relations have frayed in recent months over historical matters, including the "comfort women" issue and Japan's claims to South Korea's eastern islets of Dokdo.

A conservative heavyweight in South Korea has accused the incumbent Moon Jae-in government of running a "facade of peace between the South and North", warning against the current optimism surrounding inter-Korean relations.

The ministers also affirmed that sanctions and other pressure on North Korea should be maintained until Pyongyang takes concrete actions toward denuclearization, the officials said.

During his hour-long meeting with Kang, Kono said, "No reward should be given to North Korea just because it agreed to dialogue".

Kono arrived in South Korea late on Tuesday, on his first visit to the country since becoming foreign minister in August previous year.

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Another diplomat who sat in on the discussions added that Kono called for the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement (CVID) and the "complete resolution to North Korean nuclear and missile problem".

Both North Korean and foreign artists take part, and this year's week-long event includes concerts, dance performances and acrobatics.

A trilateral Seoul-Beijing-Tokyo summit will be held in Tokyo around May 9.

The Moon-Kim summit, if held, will mark the third inter-Korean summit.

"I want Japan and South Korea to closely coordinate to realize the denuclearization of North Korea and bring about peace, stability and prosperity in Northeast Asia", Kono said at the outset of his meeting with Kang, open to the press.

Kono's trip marked the first of its kind by a Japanese foreign minister since December 2015.

He will then pay a courtesy call on President Moon Jae-in and also meet with National Intelligence Service Director Suh Hoon to be briefed on how Seoul is preparing for an inter-Korean summit slated for April 27.



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