(LEAD) U.S. envoy meets FM Cho in Seoul after Russia’s veto on U.N. panel monitoring N.K. sanctions

The top U.S. envoy to the United Nations met with Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul in Seoul on Monday for discussions that have likely centered on exploring alternatives after Russia's veto on renewing the U.N. expert panel monitoring sanctions on North Korea. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield's meeting with Cho took place as part of her four-day visit to South Korea, during which she is also expected to meet with senior government officials in Seoul to discuss cooperation in the U.N. Security Council. She arrived in South Korea on Sunday. "It was very productive and I look forward to continuing those discussions over the course of the next two days," Thomas-Greenfield told reporters as she left the foreign ministry building. She was expected to meet with Defense Minister Shin Won-sik later in the day. Her visit came after Russia last month vetoed the U.N.'s annual renewal of an expert panel monitoring the North's compliance with U.N. sanctions. North Korea has been under tightened U.N. sanctions, which c all for, among other things, a ban on the country's exports of coal and other mineral resources to cut off North Korea's access to hard currency. With the veto, the panel's mandate is set to expire April 30, a termination that observers say could chip away at international efforts to curb evolving North Korean nuclear and missile threats. Thomas-Greenfield and South Korean officials were expected to discuss measures to ensure the continued reporting of the North's weapons proliferation and sanctions evasion activities. She will also travel to the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas, meet young North Korean defectors and speak with students at Ewha Womans University before heading to Japan on Wednesday. It marks Thomas-Greenfield's first visit to Seoul, and the first trip by a U.S. ambassador to the U.N. since 2016. Source: Yonhap News Agency