South Korea and the United States has resumed high-level talks to address concerns over the safety of imported US beef, the Yonhap news agency reported Thursday.
South Korean Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon and US Trade Representative Susan Schwab held talks on late Wednesday, the fourth meeting in five days.
Earlier on Wednesday, Kim and Schwab had an informal luncheon meeting, during which the two ministers discussed "technical issues".
The Kim-Schwab meeting came as South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is expected to announce the outcome of the ongoing beef talks Thursday before apologizing to the nation for the outcry triggered by the April 18 deal for resumption of imports of US beef from cattle of all ages despite growing concerns over mad cow disease.
Faced with street rallies and candlelight vigils against the beef deal that rocked South Korea for the past month, Lee is scheduled to announce a major reshuffling of his aides at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae and the Cabinet, whose members have already offered to resign.
Kim and Schwab had met three times since Friday, but failed to resolve differences over what they called "technical issues" to ensure resumption of imports of beef from cattle less than 30 months old, which are less susceptible to mad cow disease.
(Xinhua News Agency June 19, 2008)