S. Korea, China FMs set for talks after Park-Xi summit

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei, June 30 (Yonhap) -- The foreign ministers of South Korea and China are set to hold bilateral talks on Sunday to discuss ways to strengthen their cooperation on pressing for North Korea to denuclearize, a Seoul diplomat said.

The one-on-one meeting between Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi comes days after President Park Geun-hye and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to work closely together to end Pyongyang's nuclear program during their first summit in Beijing.

The Yun-Wang talks will be held at 11:50 a.m. (local time) on the sidelines of a regional security forum hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Brunei.

"The talks between Foreign Minister Yun and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang are mainly aimed at discussing follow-up issues after last week's summit talks between the two nations," the diplomat said on the condition of anonymity.

China is a key provider of economic aid and diplomatic protection for North Korea.

South Korea and the United States have urged China to put more pressure on Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons program, but Beijing has been reluctant to use that leverage over concern that pushing the North too hard could hurt its national interests.

But some analysts say that China could be shifting its policy focus on Pyongyang after North Korea pressed ahead with a long-range rocket launch in December and its third nuclear test in February in defiance of Beijing's appeals.

During last week's summit, Park and Xi pledged to cooperate closely to make the Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons, saying North Korea's nuclear program poses a serious threat to peace in the region and beyond. Park said she and Xi also shared the view that Pyongyang's possession of nuclear weapons is unacceptable under any circumstances.

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