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FM meets with US congressional delegation to discuss cooperation

South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha met a US congressional delegation Monday to discuss North Korea and pending bilateral issues.

Ed Royce (R-CA), the chairman of the US House Foreign Relations Committee, arrived in Seoul on Sunday for a four-day trip with three other Congressmembers.

"We brought a large bipartisan delegation again here in order to express our desire to continue to build on a relationship between South Korea and the US," Royce said at the start of the meeting.

"We are looking forward to that dialogue with your National Assembly members, and we appreciate the strong interparliamentary exchange we've had over the years between Korea and the US They have been very helpful for us to understand so many issues," he added. 

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (R) speaks with Ed Royce (R-CA), the chairman of the US House Foreign Relations Committee, in a meeting in Seoul on Aug. 28, 2017. (Yonhap)
Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha (R) speaks with Ed Royce (R-CA), the chairman of the US House Foreign Relations Committee, in a meeting in Seoul on Aug. 28, 2017. (Yonhap)

Kang thanked the delegation for visiting, calling them "our vanguards" on Capitol Hill in working on issues "that are important to us."

Kang and Royce admitted that the two countries have not always been "in concert" on every issue but emphasized that such differences are the "nature of democracy."

The delegation plans to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and National Assembly leaders to discuss cooperation before leaving Seoul on Wednesday, according to sources.

Their trip came amid heightened tensions sparked by the North's two claimed intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July.

The North conducted what appears to be short-range missiles Saturday in an apparent protest against an ongoing joint exercise of South Korean and US forces.

After his meeting with Kang, Royce told Yonhap News Agency that the US doesn't want to reward the "bad behavior" of the North and promised to work closely with the Seoul government on any future steps against the reclusive state.

"We are trying to be in consultations here to figure out an effective strategy that will create a circumstance where North Korea will stop its provocative acts," he said. "We don't want to reward bad behavior but we want to work very closely with the South Korean government on steps we should take." (Yonhap)
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