Source from the Yonhap News Agency said Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha is to attend foreign ministerial meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) early next week in Manila, the Philippines. They include the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), a rare gathering attended by North Korea.
"On the sidelines of the ASEAN meetings, we are arranging a trilateral meeting among the foreign ministers of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan," a ministry official told Yonhap News Agency on customary condition of anonymity.
"We are pushing to hold such a meeting but the final timetable has yet to be confirmed. Finding a time that satisfies the three top diplomats with busy schedules is very hard," he added.
They didn't hold trilateral talks during last year's ASEAN meetings in Laos.
Seeking a three-way meeting is aimed at strengthening cooperation in dealing with the North in the wake of its recent missile provocations, he said.
On Friday night, the North test-fired what it claimed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile, marking the second such provocation in a month.
Kang is expected to have bilateral talks with her counterparts from around a dozen countries on the ASEAN meetings' sidelines including Japan, the U.S. and China.
Keen attention is being placed on whether Kang will meet with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho. Though the foreign ministry here has not confirmed the matter, it has hinted that the door for an encounter remains open.
Last year, there was a brief encounter between then Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Ri on the sidelines of the same ASEAN meetings held in Laos.