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Friday, November 15, 2019, 11:44
DPRK says US offered to resume nuke talks in December
By Associated Press
Friday, November 15, 2019, 11:44 By Associated Press

SEOUL— Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Thursday said the United States has proposed a resumption of stalled nuclear negotiations in December as they approach an end-of-year deadline set by DPRK leader Kim Jong-un for the Trump administration to offer an acceptable deal to salvage the talks.

In a statement released by state media, DPRK negotiator Kim Myong-gil didn’t clearly say whether the DPRK would accept the supposed US offer.

If the negotiated solution of issues is possible, we are ready to meet with the US at any place and any time

Kim Myong-gil, DPRK negotiator

ALSO READ: ROK: US 'very actively' asking DPRK to return to talks

He said DPRK has no interest in talks if they are aimed at buying time without discussing solutions. He said the DPRK isn’t willing to make a deal over “matters of secondary importance,” such as possible US offers to formally declare an end to the 1950-53 Korean War, which was halted by a cease-fire, not a peace treaty, or establish a liaison office between the countries.

“If the negotiated solution of issues is possible, we are ready to meet with the US at any place and any time,” said Kim Myong-gil, who called for Washington to present a fundamental solution for discarding its “hostile policy” toward DPRK.

“If the US still seeks a sinister aim of appeasing us in a bid to pass the time limit — the end of this year — with ease as it did during the DPRK-US working-level negotiations in Sweden early in October, we have no willingness to have such negotiations,” he said, using the abbreviation of DPRK’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Nuclear negotiations have faltered since a February summit between Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump in Vietnam collapsed after the US side rejected DPRK demands for broad sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities.

The working-level talks last month in Sweden broke down over what the DPRK described as the Americans’ “old stance and attitude.”

Kim Myong-gil, who was DPRK’s lead negotiator at the Stockholm talks, said Stephen Biegun, Trump’s special envoy for DPRK, proposed via an unspecified third country to hold another round of talks in December.

“I cannot understand why he spreads the so-called idea of DPRK-US relations through the third party, not thinking of candidly making direct contact with me, his dialogue partner, if he has any suggestions or any idea over the DPRK-US dialogue,” Kim Myong-gil said of Biegun. “His behavior only amplifies doubts about the US”

In a separate statement attributed to another senior official, DPRK demanded that the United States scrap a planned US-the Republic of Korea (ROK) military drill to keep the momentum alive for dialogue.

Responding to comments by US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who said Washington could possibly modify its military activities with Seoul to make room for diplomacy, DPRK official Kim Yong-chol said he would like to consider Esper’s remarks as US intention to “drop out of the joint military drill or completely stop it.”

READ MORE: DPRK says it test-fired new multiple rocket launcher

Kim Yong-chol, DPRK’s former top nuclear negotiator and military intelligence chief, traveled to Washington and met with President Donald Trump twice last year while setting up summits with Kim Jong-un.

Esper spoke hours after DPRK’s State Affairs Commission, its supreme decision-making body, lashed out at the planned allied drills and warned that Washington will face a “greater threat” if it ignores Kim Jong-un’s deadline.

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