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South Korean President Moon Jae-in presides over National Security Council at the Presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, May 14, 2017. Baek Seung-ryol/Yonhap via REUTERS


By Christine Kim

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea said on Monday it will send special envoys to the United States, China, Japan, Russia and Germany to establish firmer ties as tensions mount on the Korean Peninsula in the wake of a missile launch by North Korea over the weekend.

The envoys will meet with high-ranking officials to explain the new South Korean government's policy plans and exchange opinions on how to develop bilateral relations, the presidential Blue House office said.

North Korea said on Monday it had successfully conducted a newly developed mid-to-long range missile test on Sunday, supervised by leader Kim Jong Un and aimed at verifying the capability to carry a "large scale heavy nuclear warhead."

Included among the South Korean envoys were Hong Seok-hyun, former ambassador to the United States and former chairman of South Korean newspaper Joongang Ilbo and broadcaster JTBC. Hong will travel to the United States, the Blue House said.

Former prime minister Lee Hae-chan will head to China. It's a role he has taken on before for former President Roh Moo-hyun.

Former parliament deputy speaker and veteran Democratic Party lawmaker Moon Hee-sang will visit Japan, while former Incheon City mayor and another Democratic Party lawmaker Song Young-gil will visit Russia. Cho Yoon-je, one of new President Moon Jae-in's economic policy advisers during his recent campaign, will travel to Germany.

(Reporting by Christine Kim; Editing by Michael Perry)

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