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U.S., South Korea to discuss North Korea provocations

By Elizabeth Shim
U.S., South Korea to discuss North Korea provocations
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken is to meet with South Korea’s deputy national security adviser next week to discuss North Korea strategy. File Photo by David Silpa/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, April 12 (UPI) -- The United States and South Korea are to hold high-level strategic talks on April 20 to address North Korea's provocations.

The meeting between U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Cho Tae-yong, deputy chief of South Korea's presidential national security office, will take place a day after a trilateral meeting among the envoys of the United States, Japan and South Korea, News 1 reported Tuesday.

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The two officials had met earlier in February before sweeping sanctions were passed at the United Nations Security Council in March. At the time, Blinken and Cho had discussed ways to apply more pressure on the North to produce a change in the country's behavior.

Close cooperation and coordination between Washington and Seoul, and independent consultations with Beijing have been credited with China's support of stronger sanctions against Pyongyang at the Security Council.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye said in a statement issued Tuesday the North's provocations can be "broken by the power of the [South Korean] people," ahead of legislative elections on Wednesday.

"At this time North Korea is paying no heed to the U.N. Security Council resolutions, preparing a nuclear test, jamming GPS signals, launching missiles and disseminating videos showing the destruction of the presidential Blue House and other government buildings," Park said.

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The president said any provocations or "divisive maneuvers" are to be met with a resolute response.

Park's ruling conservative party is expected to win the majority of seats during Wednesday's elections.

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