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Top diplomats of S. Korea, U.S. discuss N. Korea, Middle East tensions Updated: 2020-01-15 16:10:33 KST

South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reaffirmed their close coordination on North Korea.
The top diplomats met in California on Tuesday to discuss the situation on the Korean Peninsula alliance issues and other regional and international matters.
Speaking to reporters following their meeting, Kang said that talks between North Korea and the U.S. and between the two Koreas should complement each other but added that they can't always move at the same pace.
She pointed out that Seoul and Pyeongyang must continue dialogue to keep alive the momentum for North Korea's engagement amid the nuclear standoff between the North and Washington.
That said, Kang and Pompeo shared views on initiatives which the two Koreas can work on that do not violate UN sanctions or that can be granted exemptions to which, Kang said the U.S. showed understanding for Seoul's determination.
The talks come after North Korea warned of taking "shocking actual action" and threatened to showcase "a new strategic weapon."

On rising tensions in the Middle East, the two sides vowed close cooperation.
As for a U.S.-led initiative to safeguard the Strait of Hormuz near Iran, Kang said that Washington holds the position that countries that have a large economic stake in the region must contribute to such efforts.
Noting that South Korea relies on the strait for oil-related trade Kang added that Seoul is interested in the matter and will be considering ways to contribute from "multiple angles" but that a decision will be made based on the safety of the Korean people and companies in area, as well as its ties with Iran.

The talks were followed by a trilateral meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi.
The diplomats agreed that three-way cooperation is essential to ensure regional peace and security and stressed the importance of coordination to bring North Korea back to the negotiating table and achieve denuclearization.
Kang and Motegi also held a one-on-one on the sidelines to discuss efforts to solve their bilateral dispute over trade and historical issues.
Despite reaffirming their differences, they vowed to continue dialogue through diplomatic channels.
The two then had a private conversation without their aides for about five minutes where they could have discussed possible solutions.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.
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