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N. Korea launches signal desire for talks with U.S.: ambassador

All Headlines 06:09 May 18, 2019

WASHINGTON, May 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's ambassador to the United States said Friday he believes North Korea's recent missile launches were an indication of the regime's desire to continue negotiations with the U.S.

Amb. Cho Yoon-je was commenting on North Korea's launches of projectiles, including two short-range missiles, on May 4 and 9.

"I am guessing that North Korea was expressing in such a way the message that it ultimately wants talks," he told reporters.

Both South Korea and the U.S. have played down the firings in an apparent effort to keep diplomacy with the North alive.

U.S.-North Korea negotiations on denuclearizing the North in exchange for sanctions relief have stalled since the February summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended without a deal.

Cho said North Korea appears to be expressing its frustration over the impasse while taking care not to cross the line.

He also said there has been no noticeable diplomacy on North Korea's part since April's summit between Kim and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Washington continues to signal its openness to talks, he said, but Pyongyang does not appear to be responding.

On Trump's upcoming visit to South Korea in late June, the ambassador said the details have yet to be worked out. He said he met with U.S. officials at the White House on Thursday and the two sides agreed to work closely together for the president's trip.

He also vowed to continue to work to ensure the U.S. government does not impose steep tariffs on imports of South Korean cars in the wake of Trump's decision the same day to delay a decision on the tariffs by up to six months.

This file photo shows South Korean Ambassador to the United States Cho Yoon-je. (Yonhap)

hague@yna.co.kr
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