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Kerry to reaffirm U.S.-South Korea ties in Seoul

Feb. 10, 2014 at 2:03 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Secretary of State John Kerry will "reaffirm the strength" of U.S.-South Korean ties when he meets with officials in Seoul this week, the State Department said.

His six-day trip, starting Thursday, will also take him to China, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates, the department said, without specifying how long he would stay in each country.

In Seoul, Kerry is expected in meetings with senior government officials to "reaffirm the strength of the U.S.-ROK alliance, discuss ways to expand our cooperation on regional and global issues and continue our close coordination with the ROK on North Korea," department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.

ROK is short for Republic of Korea, South Korea's official name.

The visit will be Kerry's fifth trip to Asia in the past year.

In Beijing, Kerry is expected to "relay the message that the United States is committed to pursuing a positive, cooperative, comprehensive relationship" with China and express that Washington "welcomes the rise of a peaceful and prosperous China that plays a positive role in world affairs," Psaki's statement said.

Kerry is also expected to discuss regional issues, including North Korea, and "highlight the importance of U.S.-China collaboration on climate change and clean energy," she said.

In Jakarta, Kerry is expected to reinforce the value Washington gives to "Indonesia's growing leadership on global challenges" and emphasize the Obama administration's desire to keep working with Indonesia on issues climate change, security, democracy, regional integration, human rights and other issues, the Psaki said.

Indonesia is an archipelago of more than 17,500 islands with about 238 million people, making it the world's fourth most-populous country.

While in Jakarta, Kerry is also expected to be among the leaders of a joint commission meeting under the U.S.-Indonesia Comprehensive Partnership and meet with Association of Southeast Asian Nations Secretary-General Le Luong Minh.

In Abu Dhabi, Kerry is expected to discuss bilateral and regional issues "that are of mutual interest to the U.S.-UAE relationship," Psaki said.

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