‘US seeks to address NK’s security interests’
— 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.”