|U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson|
By Lee Haye-ah
WASHINGTON/SEOUL, Aug. 3 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has no plans to meet his North Korean counterpart at a regional gathering in the Philippines later this week, a U.S. official said Wednesday.
Tillerson is scheduled to participate in a series of meetings involving the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Manila starting Saturday.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho is also expected to be at the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), one of few international gatherings the communist country regularly attends.
"The secretary has no plans to meet the North Korean foreign minister in Manila. I don't expect to see that happen," Susan Thornton, acting assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said in a teleconference previewing his upcoming trip.
The U.S. continues to exert pressure on the North Korean regime to abandon its nuclear and missile programs, she quoted Tillerson as saying during a press conference Tuesday.
He also reassured Pyongyang that Washington does not seek a regime change in the reclusive state and would be willing to hold talks "at some point."
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