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Blinken to discuss Russia, Middle East, N. Korea during visit to Seoul: State Department

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken plans to discuss responses to Russia's war in Ukraine and instability in the Middle East during his trip to Seoul as part of a multination trip this month, his office said Wednesday.

His nine-day trip, which includes stops in Israel, Jordan, Japan and India, is set to begin Thursday as Washington is striving to prevent an escalation of the war between Israel and the Hamas militant group while maintaining its strategic policy focus on the Indo-Pacific region.

In Seoul, the fourth leg of the trip, Blinken will have meetings with President Yoon Suk Yeol, Foreign Minister Park Jin and National Security Adviser Cho Tae-yong to discuss ways to respond to the war in Ukraine, Russia's growing military cooperation with North Korea and escalating tensions in the Middle East, according to State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller.

"They will also discuss mutual efforts to support bilateral investment and economic security," Miller said in a press release.

Before visiting Seoul, Blinken will join a Group of Seven foreign ministerial meeting in Tokyo and hold bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko to discuss Ukraine's economic recovery and energy needs, and other issues.

"In Tokyo and Seoul, the secretary will underscore the United States' ironclad commitment to the defense of Japan and ROK and reaffirm the importance of robust and sustained trilateral engagement following the historic Camp David summit in August," Miller said, using the acronym for South Korea's official name, the Republic of Korea.

The US has praised the Camp David summit as having ushered in a "new era" of trilateral cooperation as it produced a series of landmark agreements, including the three leaders' "commitment to consult" each other in the event of a common security threat.

In Tel Aviv, Israel, the first leg of the trip, Blinken plans to reiterate America's support for Israel's right to defend itself "consistent with international humanitarian law" and discuss efforts to secure the release of hostages and increase humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians in the besieged Gaza Strip, Miller said.

He will then fly to Jordan, where Blinken will underscore the importance of protecting civilian lives and the two nations' commitment to facilitating the sustained shipment of humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza.

In New Delhi, Blinken is set to join the two countries' "two plus two" ministerial meeting, where Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin will also be present. (Yonhap)

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