U.S. senator McCain arrives in Seoul for N.K. issues

SEOUL, Aug. 25 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Senator John McCain arrived in Seoul on Sunday to meet with South Korean government officials and activists to discuss issues of mutual interest including North Korea's nuclear weapons program and human rights conditions.

The Arizona senator, accompanied by fellow Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, arrived at Incheon International Airport, the main gateway to Seoul, in the afternoon for his first trip here since 1991.

During his two-day stay in South Korea, he is scheduled to meet with local activists to discuss improving human rights conditions in the communist North, according to sources.

He also plans to meet with South Korean President Park Geun-hye and hold a brief press conference.

"There are many challenges and issues that we will be discussing with (South) Korean government officials as well as our military here," McCain said, citing such issues as the relocation of the U.S. troops stationed here, the North's nuclear weapons program and the bilateral free trade deal.

"We look forward to having good discussions between good friends for many years," he added.

McCain, the Republican presidential nominee in 2008 and a decorated war veteran, has taken a hawkish stance on the communist North, which has one of the worst human rights records.

Senator Whitehouse also expressed hope for active discussions on "issues facing South Korea and concerns that all of us have about North Korea."

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