South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha will travel to the United States this week for talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on North Korea and alliance issues, her ministry announced Thursday.
Kang plans to hold her first official meeting with Pompeo as Seoul's top diplomat in Washington D.C. on Friday, and they will hold a joint press conference, the ministry said.
It's expected to offer a chance for Kang and Pompeo to set up a close bilateral consultation channel amid a frenzy of summit diplomacy on North Korea.
Since the resignation of Pompeo's predecessor Rex Tillerson in March, major diplomatic consultations between the allies have been reportedly led by the so-called Cheong Wa Dae-White House line or officials at the South's National Intelligence Service and the Central Intelligence Agency.
Kang and Pompeo will discuss recent security conditions in Northeast Asia ahead of the summit talks between President Moon Jae-in and President Donald Trump slated for May 22, according to the ministry.
In particular, Pompeo has just finished his second trip to Pyongyang, during which he met again with the North's leader Kim Jong-un to fine-tune the details of Trump's meeting with Kim, which is expected to be held in late May or June.
Kang and Pompeo will discuss a strategy for producing meaningful results during the Kim-Trump summit, the ministry said.
"They plan to have in-depth consultations on ways for South Korean and U.S. diplomatic authorities to coordinate for the denuclearization of North Korea and establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula through the success of the North Korea-U.S. summit," the ministry said in a press release.
In addition, they will reaffirm the robust Seoul-Washington alliance, which marks its 65th anniversary in 2018, and discuss pending bilateral issues, the ministry added.
Kang will visit the U.S. after attending a session of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) under way in Cuba.
Meanwhile, Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan had a phone conversation Wednesday night and agreed to continue close cooperation on the coming high-profile diplomatic events.
They agreed that the release of three American detained in the North is a positive signal for a successful summit between Pyongyang and Washington, according to the ministry's spokesman Noh Kyu-duk. The three men of Korean descent returned to the U.S. with Pompeo.
Sullivan briefed Lim on the U.S. government's decision to exit the nuclear accord with Iran and affirmed that its efforts to resolve the issue will go on, Noh said at a press briefing.
South Korea's chief nuclear envoy, Lee Do-hoon, is also on a visit to the U.S. capital for working-level consultations on an approach toward the North.