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(LEAD) Seoul official discusses N. Korean human rights with U.S. envoy

SEOUL, A foreign ministry official met with Julie Turner, the U.S. special representative for North Korean human rights, on Wednesday and discussed joint efforts to promote the human rights situation in the reclusive state, the ministry said. The meeting took place between Turner and Chun Young-hee, director general for the Korean Peninsula peace regime, as the U.S. envoy was visiting Seoul this week to attend an event marking the 10th anniversary of the release of a landmark U.N. report on North Korea's human rights abuses. At the talks, Chun called for the need to convey the reality about the outside world to the North Korean people as much as promoting the awareness of the North's human rights situations to the international community, the ministry said. Noting that a U.N. periodic review on North Korea's human rights is scheduled for November this year, Turner suggested South Korea and the U.S. continue to work together on related issues, according to the ministry's release. They agreed to continue co operation to protect and support North Korean defectors and to resolve the issues of abductees, detainees and prisoners of war. They also agreed to push for holding the bilateral consultative meeting on North Korean human rights in the first half of this year. Later in the day, Turner voiced hope for trilateral cooperation among the U.S., South Korea and Japan to find "pathways" to help victims of North Korea's oppressive policies in a separate meeting with Unification Minister Kim Yung-ho. "In addition to Japanese abductees, there are of course many South Korean abductees, POWs, detainee family members as well as countless Korean diaspora and Koreans here who have been impacted as members of divided families," Turner said, referring to prisoners of war. "I think this is an opportunity for us to work trilaterally, consistent with the spirit of the Camp David (summit) to continue to seek pathways to help these families reunite with one another," she added. Kim, Seoul's point man on inter-Korean affairs, sa id the issue of North Korea's human rights violations is closely linked to security concerns on the Korean Peninsula, as the regime has been ramping up nuclear and missile development while suppressing North Koreans' freedom. He added the government plans to also look into the issue of Japanese people abducted by North Korea when it carries out an investigation into Pyongyang's human rights situations. Source: Yonhap News Agency