NK seeks re­sults in de­nuke talks

The Korea Times - - NATIONAL - By Lee Min-hyung mh­[email protected]­re­atimes.co.kr

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

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