Wide-Ranging S. Korea Talks This Week

Wide-Ranging S. Korea Talks This Week    Wide-Ranging S. Korea Talks This Week

South Korea and Iran will hold talks this week on Tehran’s nuclear issue, the political situation on the Korean Peninsula and other issues of mutual concern, the South Korean Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday.

The annual policy talks will be held in Seoul on Thursday, led by Kwon Hee-seog, director general of the Africa and Middle East affairs bureau, and his Iranian counterpart, Abdolrassoul Mohajer Hejazi, the ministry said in a press release, Yonhap news agency reported.

“During the policy talks, the two sides will exchange views on issues of mutual interest, including bilateral issues, the Iranian nuclear deal and sanctions on Iran and the political situation in the Middle East, on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia,” the statement said.

The meeting comes as South Korea seeks to secure a foothold in the oil-rich nation before international sanctions against the country are lifted under a prospective nuclear deal with the six major powers (the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China).

The landmark agreement, expected by the end of this month, aims to place temporary limits on Iran’s nuclear program in return for relief from international sanctions.

Talks have been underway to arrange visits to Iran by First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yong and Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Hong-kyun in the coming weeks. Mohajer is also scheduled to meet Kim during his visit to Seoul. Once the nuclear deal is sealed, Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se could make a trip to Iran, according to a South Korean government official who spoke on condition of anonymity. The removal of sanctions will allow Iran to access its oil money in banks in Europe and other parts of the world valued at tens of billions of US dollars. Much of that cash is expected to be invested in building infrastructure in the Middle Eastern nation, where South Korean firms could win major construction projects.