By Ron Chen, Senior Correspondent ASEAN Region
On January 6, First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choi Jong Kun held a bilateral meeting with Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ali Bagheri Kani. Vice Minister Choi is on a visit to Vienna, Austria for talks with heads of delegations to the negotiations which aim to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The Thursday meeting was the first encounter in person between the two Vice Ministers since Vice Minister Bagheri took office. The two sides held frank and constructive talks regarding Korean-Iranian relations, including the issue of frozen Iranian assets in Korea.
Vice Minister Choi expressed his hopes for the early conclusion of negotiations to revive the JCPOA, and the two sides agreed that the release of the frozen assets should take place in an urgent manner.
The two sides agreed to hold working-level talks between experts to discuss technical issues related to the transfer of the frozen assets.
Vice Minister Choi said the day’s meeting should serve as a momentum for preserving our bilateral relationship. Vice Minister Bagheri responded that Vice Minister Choi’s visit to Vienna to discuss the issue of frozen assets was a positive signal for strengthening bilateral ties and proposed to work towards this end.
Vice Minister Choi also met with Ambassador Mikhail Ulyanov, head of the delegation of the Russian Federation to the JCPOA talks, on Thursday afternoon. Vice Minister Choi recognized Russia’s role in advancing JCPOA talks and explained Korea’s efforts to resolve bilateral issues with Iran. The two sides agreed to continue close communications to this end.