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SAT, 2014-12-20  KST

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Top diplomats from S. Korea, U.S. hold talks on North Korea
Updated: 2014-02-13 21:34:24 KST

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Seoul this afternoon on the first stop of his fifth trip to Asia since becoming Washington's chief diplomat.
After paying a courtesy call to President Park Geun-hye, Secretary Kerry met with his South Korean counterpart Yun Byung-se at Seoul's foreign ministry.

The two diplomats just wrapped up their joint press conference less than an hour ago.
For the latest, we have our correspondent Hwang Sung-hee on the line.
Sung-hee, what was the key issue discussed at today's meeting?

Good evening, guys.
This is the second time in this year that the two diplomats are meeting and they had a lot to discuss at today's talks ranging from regional and global issues and of course, topping the agenda was how to deal with North Korea.
Secretary Kerry's visit comes a day after North Korea demanded for a postponement of an upcoming joint military drills between Seoul and Washington to sometime after the two Koreas hold reunions for families separated by the Korean War.
The family reunions, which will be the first in more than three years, are scheduled to take place from February 20th to the 25th and overlaps with the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises that begin on February 24th.
However, Secretary Kerry stressed that he shares Seoul's stance in that humanitarian issues like the family reunions and the military drills will be dealt with as two separate matters.
He also touched upon the possibility of engaging in dialogue with the North, saying Pyongyang must first take steps for verifiable denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
He once again reiterated that South Korea and the U.S. will only hold talks with the North when it is guaranteed to have a meaningful outcome.

Secretary Kerry's visit comes amid heightened tensions in Northeast Asia due to Japan's ongoing denial of its historical wrongdoings.
Did the two officials address this issue?

Yes, they did, although the two remained divided on the matter.
Secretary Kerry seemed to be reluctant to comment on the ongoing friction between Seoul and Tokyo.
He said that while the United States holds strong interests for friendly relations between South Korea and Japan, he was said that it is up to the two countries to put history behind them and move the relationship forward.
Secretary Kerry said robust trilateral cooperation between Seoul, Washington and Tokyo is critical, particularly in the face of North Korea's persisting nuclear threats.
But Minister Yun made South Korea's position on the issue very clear, stressing that Japanese politicians' constant denial of history is harming their relations.
He said Japan must try to earn back the trust of its neighbors by taking steps to show its sincerity in acknowledging its past wrongdoings during the second World War.

Thank you, Sung-hee.
That was our correspondent Hwang Sung-hee with the latest on Secretary Kerry's visit to Seoul.
KOGL : Korea Open Government License

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