‘US seeks to address NK’s se­cu­rity in­ter­ests’

The Korea Times - - NATIONAL -

— The United States will address North Korea’s se­cu­rity in­ter­ests if the regime gives up its nu­clear weapons pro­gram, a se­nior U.S. of­fi­cial said Wed­nes­day, beck­on­ing Py­ongyang to re­turn to de­nu­cle­ariza­tion talks.

David Stil­well, as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of state for East Asian and Pa­cific af­fairs, tes­ti­fied at a Se­nate hear­ing af­ter work­ing-level talks be­tween Washington and Py­ongyang broke down in Swe­den , Oct. 5.

“They’ve come out to talk. We need to en­cour­age them to con­tinue do­ing that,” Stil­well told the Se­nate For­eign Re­la­tions Sub­com­mit­tee on East Asia.

“Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive (for North Korea Stephen) Biegun, I know, is work­ing on en­gage­ment and trying to get these folks to the ta­ble to re­as­sure them that their se­cu­rity in­ter­ests — we’d take those into con­sid­er­a­tion as we work through this prob­lem,” he added, re­fer­ring to Washington’s chief ne­go­tia­tor.

Se­cu­rity guar­an­tees and sanctions relief are two of North Korea’s big­gest de­mands from the U.S. in the on-again, off-again ne­go­ti­a­tions aimed at dis­man­tling the regime’s nu­clear weapons pro­gram.

North Ko­rean state media re­ported ear­lier that leader Kim Jong-un rode a white horse up Mount Paektu, the high­est peak on the Ko­rean Penin­sula, and com­plained of the “cease­less sanctions and pres­sure by the hos­tile forces.”

David Stil­well

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