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(3rd LD) U.S. envoy hopes N. Korea will accept offer to meet 'anytime, anywhere without preconditions'

North Korea 12:10 June 21, 2021

(ATTN: CHANGES headline, lead; UPDATES throughout)
By Song Sang-ho and Kim Seung-yeon

SEOUL, June 21 (Yonhap) -- The United States has offered to meet with North Korea "anywhere, anytime without preconditions" and looks forward to a positive response from Pyongyang, the new U.S. special envoy for the North said Monday.

Ambassador Sung Kim made the remarks during trilateral talks with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts, Noh Kyu-duk and Takehiro Funakoshi, in Seoul, where they discussed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's recent remarks that his country should be ready for both dialogue and confrontation.

"We continue to hope that the DPRK will respond positively to our outreach and our offer to meet anywhere, anytime without preconditions," Kim said, referring to the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Kim also stressed that the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden will continue to implement U.N. Security Council resolutions against Pyongyang.

"We will also urge all U.N. member states, especially U.N. Security Council members, to do the same, to address the threat posed to the international community by the DPRK," he said.

The first in-person trilateral session since Kim took over as the U.S. nuclear envoy last month came after last week's four-day plenary meeting of the Workers' Party's Central Committee.

At the meeting, 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 on Sunday, U.S. National Security Adviser 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."

During his bilateral talks with Noh earlier in the day, the U.S. envoy said that 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 two-way 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.

Kim was accompanied by Deputy Special Representative Jung Pak and Adam Farrar, director for the Korean Peninsula at the National Security Council.

Kim, who doubles as ambassador to Indonesia, arrived here Saturday for a five-day visit. It marks his first trip since Biden announced his appointment last month in a signal of his administration's readiness for dialogue with the North.



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