NK seeks results in denuke talks
North Korea has sent a signal that it wants to restart a nuclear dialogue with the United States, but stressed it would not make any concessions unless Washington comes up with an “alternative method of calculation” in the negotiations.
First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui, who is de facto in charge of the North’s overall diplomatic strategies, said Tuesday that Pyongyang was willing to resume talks with the United States sometime late this month.
“I want to believe the U.S. will come up with an alternative that can satisfy mutual interests between Pyongyang and Washington and that is based on a calculation method acceptable to us,” Choe said in a statement.
“If the U.S. considers using an outdated scenario, which has nothing to do with the new calculation method, the deal between Pyongyang and Washington will come to an end,” the vice foreign minister Choe added.
But only a few hours after the statement was released, the North launched two “unidentified projectiles” off its east coast.
The recent resumption of the provocative actions is viewed by many to be in line with the North’s strategy to “raise the bar” ahead of any working-level nuclear disarmament talks.
In response, South Korea’s National Security Council (NSC) convened an emergency meeting presided over by NSC chief Chung Eui-yong.
“We express a strong sense of regret over the North’s repeated launches of short-range projectiles since this May,” a statement released later by Cheong Wa Dae said.
It remains too early to predict the exact timing and site of the talks as North Korea has yet to share additional details and both sides are fine-tuning details for any possible meeting, according to officials direct with the knowledge.
Washington expressed optimism for the restart of the denuclearization talks.
“Well, I saw a statement was just put out having to do with North Korea, and that will be interesting,” U.S. President Donald Trump told White House pool reporters, Tuesday (KST).
“I always say having meetings is a good thing, not a bad thing,” the U.S. president added.
The government here remained careful in analyzing the motives behind the North’s military provocations and signal for a resumption of the Washington-Pyongyang talks.
The unification ministry said it would continue to monitor any movements in North Korea.
“Choe’s statement and the launch of the projectiles came almost at the same time, so it is worth analyzing,” a ministry official told reporters in a regular briefing.
“But it is not appropriate for us to make any rash judgments over the North’s intentions,” the official added.
The ministry also raised the possibility that the potential restart of the working-level nuclear talks would help revive dialogue between the two Koreas.
Inter-Korean talks broke down in the wake of the failure of the Hanoi summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jongun last February.
The political parties expressed concern over the North’s repeated missile tests.
“Later this month, the U.S. and the North may hold working-level nuclear talks, but South Korea is totally excluded from the discussion,” main opposition Liberty Korea Party spokesman Rep. Jun Hee-kyung said.
NK’s vice foreign minister Choe Son-hui
NSO chief Chung Eui-yong
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo