Talks with US if conditions are right, says N. Korean diplomat
SEOUL: A senior North Korean diplomat, who handles relations with the United States, yesterday said Pyongyang would have a dialogue with the US administration if conditions were right, reported South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.
Yonhap said North Korea’s Foreign Ministry director-general for US affairs Choe Son-hui made the comment in Beijing as she was travelling home from Norway.
“We will have a dialogue if the conditions are there,” she said when asked if North Korea was preparing to hold talks with the Trump administration.
When asked if the North was also preparing to talk with the new government in South Korea, of liberal President Moon Jae-in, Choe said: “We’ll see.”
The comments by Choe, who is a veteran member of the North’s team of nuclear negotiators, came amid stepped up international efforts to press Pyongyang and ease tension over its pursuit of nuclear arms.
US President Donald Trump warned in an interview in April that a “major, major conflict” with the North was possible, but he would prefer a diplomatic outcome to the dispute over its nuclear and missile programmes.
Trump later said he would be “honoured” to meet the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, under the right conditions.
Choe was in Norway for socalled Track Two talks with former US government officials, according to Japanese media, the latest in a series of such meetings.
A source with knowledge of the latest meeting said at least one former US government official took part, but the US administration was not involved.
South Korea’s Moon, elected this week on a platform of a moderate approach to North Korea, said he would be willing to go to the isolated state under the right circumstances.
He said dialogue must be used in parallel with sanctions to resolve the problem over North Korea’s weapons.
North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests in defiance of United Nations and US sanctions, and is developing long-range missiles to deliver atomic weapons.
It said it needed such weapons to defend itself against US aggression. Reuters