White House: Any U.S. talks with North Korea would be on denuclearization

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Monday that anything discussed between the U.S. and North Korea in potential conversation would be "solely on the focus of them agreeing to denuclearize the peninsula."

The White House has responded to North Korea's willingness to hold talks with the United States, saying in a statement Sunday that "there is a brighter path available for North Korea if it chooses denuclearization."

"We will see if Pyongyang's message today, that it is willing to hold talks, represents the first steps along the path to denuclearization," the statement read. "In the meantime, the United States and the world must continue to make clear that North Korea's nuclear and missile programs are a dead end."

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in a statement on Sunday that he'd met with the North Korean delegation in Pyeongchang before the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games, and told them that North Korea-US talks should happen "as soon as possible."

Moon said the North Koreans indicated they were willing to talk with the US, and agreed that "the inter-Korean relationship and North Korea-US relationship should develop together."

Moon met for an hour with the North Korean delegation at an undisclosed location in Pyeongchang at 5 p.m. local time Sunday, three hours before South Korea prepared to host the carefully-choreographed closing ceremony.

Kim Jong Chol, who led the North Korean delegation in South Korea for the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, said Monday that the reclusive state is willing to hold talks with the United States, noting the door for dialogue between the two countries remains open, the South’s Yonhap news agency reported.

At the games’ closing ceremony, Kim sat in a VIP box that put him within speaking distance of members of the U.S. delegation led by Ivanka Trump, the daughter of President Trump, and included Allison Hooker, the national security council adviser for Korean issues.

While Ivanka Trump sat near Kim, she didn’t appear to greet him.

“There was no interaction with the North Korean delegation,” media reports quoted a senior White House official as saying in a statement. “The U.S. presidential delegation’s attendance at the closing ceremonies was the culmination of a successful trip where we celebrated the Olympic Games, U.S. athletes and our strong alliance with South Korea.”

The North’s delegation also included Choe Kang Il, the deputy director-general for North American affairs at the North’s Foreign Ministry, raising hopes of talks.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.