S. Korea, U.S., Japan to hold talks on N. Korean nuke programs next week

SEOUL, April 3 (Yonhap) -- The chief nuclear envoys of South Korea, the United States and Japan plan to hold trilateral talks next week to explore ways to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, the foreign ministry here said Thursday.

Hwang Joon-kook, South Korea's chief negotiator for the six-party talks on ending the North's nuclear weapons programs, is scheduled to sit down for talks with his U.S. counterpart Glyn Davies and Japanese counterpart Junichi Ihara in Washington next Monday, according to Seoul's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"(The three envoys) are planning to discuss broader issues related to the North's nuclear programs, to share evaluations on the latest developments on the Korean Peninsula, and to have consultations about how to respond to them," the ministry said in a statement.

The trilateral meeting came as the leaders of the allies agreed to convene such high-level talks to forge a united front against Pyongyang during their rare three-way talks in The Hague last week, it added.

During the summit in Europe, the leaders shared the view that the six-party forum should reopen when the conditions are right to make substantial progress. The multilateral talks that involve two Koreas, the U.S., Japan, China, and Russia have been dormant since 2008.

The planned three-way meeting is part of Hwang's four-day trip to the U.S. starting Sunday, the ministry said, without elaborating further on his detailed schedule.

Tensions have flared up on the Korean Peninsula as the communist country has taken a series of provocative actions in recent weeks, firing two medium-range missiles into the sea and holding a live-fire drill near the tense Yellow Sea border with the South.

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