South Korean Defense Minister to Visit Paris for Talks on Pyongyang

© AP Photo / Ahn Young-joonA man watches a TV screen showing a file footage of the missile launch conducted by North Korea, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, March 18, 2016
A man watches a TV screen showing a file footage of the missile launch conducted by North Korea, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, March 18, 2016 - Sputnik International
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South Korea's Defense Minister Han Min-goo is paying an official visit to Paris where he is scheduled to meet his French counterpart to discuss the situation with North Korea, the South Korean Defense ministry said Tuesday.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to Yonhap news agency, Han will meet French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Wednesday. In addition to the talks on North Korea, which will focus on joint actions against Pyongyang's nuclear and missile ambitions and nuclear non-proliferation efforts, the two ministers are expected to discuss bilateral defense cooperation measures and their potential expansion.

Han's visit is set to continue on Thursday and is organized at the French initiative.

Tensions over North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs escalated after Pyongyang said on January 6 that it had successfully carried out a hydrogen bomb test and put a satellite into orbit on February 7. The moves violated UN Security Council resolutions, and prompted the United Nations as well as the United States to impose sanctions.

Last month, Pyongyang urged Seoul to accept its offer to hold military talks and called for joint steps to carry out measures for national unity, citing the need to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula. South Korea rejected the proposal, demanding "a real turn" toward denuclearization.

South and North Korea are still formally at war, as no peace treaty was ever signed after the Korean War of 1950-1953.

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