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U.S. hopes N. Korea will respond to U.S. outreach for dialogue: State Dept.

North Korea 05:21 June 22, 2021

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, June 21 (Yonhap) -- The United States is willing to hold dialogue with North Korea at any time and any place, a State Department spokesman Ned Price said Monday, also reiterating the latest U.S. overture to meet without any preconditions.

The remarks come after the special U.S. envoy for North Korea, Sung Kim, expressed hope that the North will respond positively to U.S. outreach.

"We certainly hope the DPRK will respond positively to our outreach and our offer to meet anywhere, anytime without preconditions," Price said in a telephonic press briefing, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"That is precisely what Ambassador Kim said in his travel to Seoul, where he is emphasizing the fundamental importance of U.S.-ROK-Japan trilateral cooperation in working toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, protecting our shared security, prosperity, upholding common values and bolstering the rules-based international order," he added.

ROK stands for the Republic of Korea, South Korea's official name.

S. Korea-U.S.-Japan meeting on N. Korean issues
S. Korea-U.S.-Japan meeting on N. Korean issues

Sung Kim, U.S. special envoy for North Korea, holds talks with Noh Kyu-duk (not pictured), South Korea's special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, and Takehiro Funakoshi (not pictured), head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, at a Seoul hotel on June 21, 2021. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

In his Seoul meeting with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts on Monday (Seoul time), Kim said the U.S. is open to meeting with North Korea ""anywhere, anytime without preconditions."

Price highlighted the outcome of the recently concluded U.S. North Korea policy review that seeks a calibrated, practical approach to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

"It's an approach that's open to and will explore diplomacy with the DPRK to make progress that achieves what we seek, and that is increased security of the United States, for our allies and for our deployed forces," he said.

The Joe Biden administration has said it had reached out to Pyongyang in February and again in April when its North Korea policy review came to an end.

North Korea remains unresponsive to the U.S. overtures, but leader Kim Jong-un said in a party meeting last week that his country must be prepared for both dialogue and confrontation with the U.S., prompting hopes that the North may be ready to return to the dialogue table.

"We will be prepared for either, because you know, we are still waiting to hear back from Pyongyang," the special U.S. envoy, Kim, said in Seoul. "Hopefully, Chairman Kim's reference to dialogue indicates that we will get a positive response soon."

North Korea has stayed away from denuclearization negotiations since leader Kim's Hanoi summit with former U.S. President Donald Trump ended without a deal in February 2019.


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