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(2nd LD) U.S. nuke envoy voices hope for 'positive response' from N. Korea

North Korea 11:21 June 21, 2021

(ATTN: ADDS more info in paras 4-7)
By Song Sang-ho and Kim Seung-yeon

SEOUL, June 21 (Yonhap) -- The new U.S. special representative for North Korea said Monday he looks forward to Pyongyang giving a "positive response soon" to Washington's dialogue offer, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's recent remarks that Pyongyang should be ready for both dialogue and confrontation.

Ambassador Sung Kim made the remarks during a meeting with Seoul's top nuclear envoy, Noh Kyu-duk, in Seoul, saying Washington will also be prepared for either dialogue or confrontation.

"We will be prepared for either, because you know, we are still waiting to hear back from Pyongyang ... proposal for a meeting," he said. "Hopefully, Chairman Kim's reference to dialogue indicates that we will get a positive response soon."

After the talks, the U.S. envoy reaffirmed the two countries' shared commitment to pursuing the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through diplomacy and dialogue.

"I also reiterated our support for meaningful inter-Korean dialogue, cooperation and engagement as our two leaders did in Washington, when President Moon visited Washington," he said, referring to the May 21 summit.

South Korea's top nuclear envoy, Noh Kyu-duk (R), and his U.S. counterpart, Sung Kim, pose for a photo before their talks at the foreign ministry in Seoul on June 21, 2021. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

During the talks with Kim, Noh said that Seoul will continue to play a "necessary" role for the early resumption of dialogue with Pyongyang through coordination with Washington.

"We wish to restore the structure where inter-Korean and U.S.-DPRK relations reinforce each other in a mutually beneficial way," he said, referring to the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

During last week's four-day plenary meeting of the Workers' Party's Central Committee, the North Korean leader called for his country to be prepared for both dialogue and confrontation, but more importantly the latter, and stressed the need for the "stable control" of the Korean Peninsula situation.

In an interview with ABC News, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan called Kim's comments an "interesting signal," saying, "We will wait to see whether they are followed up with any kind of more direct communication to us about a potential path forward."

Following the talks, Kim and Noh scheduled to join a trilateral meeting involving their Japanese counterpart, Takehiro Funakoshi.

Kim, who doubles as ambassador to Indonesia, is accompanied by Deputy Special Representative Jung Pak and a representative of the National Security Council.

Kim arrived in Seoul on Saturday for a five-day visit.

sshluck@yna.co.kr

elly@yna.co.kr
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