S Korean FM-US trip

By Lee Chi-dong

SEOUL/WASHINGTON, March 26 (Yonhap) -- South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se will travel to Washington next week for consultations on North Korea as well as bilateral issues in the run-up to a U.S. visit by President Park Geun-hye in May, officials said Tuesday.

Yun will make a three-day trip to the U.S. on April 2 and hold his first bilateral talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, foreign ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young said.

"During the talks with Secretary of State Kerry, the two sides will fine-tune their foreign policy agenda, including North Korea, and hold consultations ahead of the planned visit by President Park to the U.S.," Cho said.

Yun's trip is deemed unusual as Kerry plans to visit Seoul next month, meaning they will have two separate meetings in as many weeks.

"There is a shared view that Yun had better make his first trip to the U.S. as South Korea's foreign minister in advance of President Park's visit," an informed source in Washington said. "Given President Park's schedule, it's hard to find another time for Yun's visit."

About a week ago, Kerry called Yun to congratulate him on his appointment as foreign minister.

"The secretary and foreign minister confirmed that the U.S.-ROK (South Korea) alliance has never been stronger... They also discussed missile defense and the DPRK (North Korea)'s recent provocative actions and rhetoric," State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said at the time.

Meanwhile, South Korea's chief nuclear envoy, Lim Sung-nam, is also considering a trip to Washington next week for a meeting with Glyn Davies, U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, another diplomatic source said.

<All rights reserved by Yonhap News Agency>