Focus on North Korea’s nuclear issue

A senior U.S. official arrived Monday in South Korea for a two-day visit that would focus on North Korea’s nuclear issue and the bilateral free trade agreement pending in the National Assembly, a Seoul official said.

U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman will meet senior South Korean officials on Tuesday, including First Vice Foreign Minister Park Suk-hwan, for “comprehensive discussions on bilateral relations and ways for the two countries to work together on regional and global issues,” the official said on the condition of anonymity.

It was her first visit to Seoul since taking office in September. Sherman served as the U.S. State Department’s special coordinator for North Korea policy from 1997 to 2001.

North Korea has called for an early resumption of the six-party talks without preconditions, but South Korea and the U.S. insist that Pyongyang must first take concrete steps to show its sincerity before reconvening the talks, such as a monitored shutdown of its uranium enrichment plant.

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