• Reuters

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The United States, Japan and South Korea will meet next week to seek ways to persuade North Korea to give up its atomic weapons program, the U.S. State Department said Thursday, just days after Pyongyang warned of a “new form” of nuclear test.

The talks next Monday in Washington will follow on from a trilateral summit involving the United States and its two main Asian allies hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama in The Hague on March 25.

The discussions precede a visit to Asia by Obama from April 22, which will include stops in both Japan and South Korea, where the North Korea issue will be high on the agenda.

North Korea test-launched two ballistic missiles as the talks in The Hague got under way and Sunday, after members of the U.N. Security Council criticized that move, Pyongyang said it will not rule out conducting “a new form of nuclear test.”

The Washington meeting will be hosted by Glyn Davies, the U.S. special representative for North Korea policy. South Korea will be represented by Hwang Joon-kook, its special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs. Japan will send Junichi Ihara, the Foreign Ministry’s director-general for Asian and Oceanian Affairs.

“These discussions reflect the close cooperation among our three countries and our continued focus on pursuing the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner, the State Department said in a statement.

Last month’s talks in The Hague saw the first face-to-face meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

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