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S Korea, US put off strategic beef talks
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South Korea and the United States have postponed top-level diplomatic talks, originally slated for this week, due to the political turmoil in Seoul stemming from public protests over Seoul's decision to resume American beef imports, officials said on Wednesday.

Vice Foreign Minister Kwon Jong-rak was scheduled to fly to Washington and hold an annual strategic dialogue on Wednesday with Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte on global security concerns including NorthKorea's nuclear program.

"We asked for a delay of the strategic dialogue because of the domestic situation," a Foreign Ministry official told South Korea' s Yonhap News Agency, adding "we will set an alternative date."

The South Korean government is facing its biggest crisis following the signing of the pact with the United States.

Currently, South Korea's Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon is in Washington for "additional talks" with US Trade Representative Susan Schwab on the terms of the planned beef imports.

(Xinhua News Agency June 18, 2008)

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