'N.Korea will be at front and centre of Biden's trip to S.Korea, Japan'

by IANS |

Washington, May 10 (IANS) North Korea will be at the "front and centre" in US President Joe Biden's agenda when he travels to South Korea and Japan later this month, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

"I would note that when the President goes to South Korea, (and) Japan, North Korea, especially given the recent tests, will be front and centre in the agenda and discussing security in the region with them," Yonhap News Agency quoted Psaki as saying during a press conference here on Monday.

Biden is set to visit Seoul from May 20-22 for talks with newly-inaugurated South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, followed by a trip to Tokyo from May 22-24.

"The President looks forward to having a conversation with him (Yoon) about security in the region and, of course, denuclearization of the peninsula," she said.

Biden's trip to Asia follows a recent series of North Korean missile launches that included the firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in March, which ended Pyongyang's self-imposed moratorium on long-range missile testing after more than four years.

North Korea also fired an apparent submarine-launched ballistic missile on May 7, marking its 15th show of force this year.

Psaki said the US was monitoring North Korea for signs of additional provocations that may coincide with Biden's upcoming trip when asked, but said she had nothing to predict or preview "in terms of any pre-emptive sanctions or actions".

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