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(LEAD) U.S. holds no hostility, awaits positive response for dialogue from N. Korea: State Dept.

Diplomacy 05:50 December 14, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with remarks from a Pentagon spokesperson, additional information in paras 8-12; ADDS photo)
By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 (Yonhap) -- The United States has no hostile policy toward North Korea while it continues to wait for a positive response from the reclusive state to its outreach, a state department spokesperson said Monday.

Jalina Porter, principal deputy spokesperson for the state department, also reiterated the U.S. remains ready to meet with North Korea any time without any preconditions.

"We remain committed to achieving a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and diplomacy with the DPRK, and to that end, of course, we will seek to engage with the DPRK as a part of a calibrated and practical approach in order to make more tangible progress that increases the security of not only the United States, but as well as our allies and our deployed forces," she said in a telephonic press briefing.

DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's official name.

Her remarks come after South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the U.S., China and North Korea have all expressed their agreement, in principle, for the need to formally declare an end to the Korean War, but that the countries have been unable to enter talks because of North Korea's demand for the U.S. to withdraw what it calls U.S. hostility toward Pyongyang.

"We certainly have no hostile intent towards the DPRK. And we're certainly prepared to meet without preconditions and we hope the DPRK will respond positively to our outreach," said Porter.

"We'll continue to consult closely with Republic of Korea, Japan and other allies and partners about the best way to engage with the DPRK," she added, referring to South Korea by its official name.

U.S. Department of Defense Press Secretary John Kirby is seen answering questions in a daily press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington on Dec. 13, 2021 in this image captured from the department's website. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

A Pentagon spokesman also said the U.S. has no hostile policy toward the North.

"We have no hostile intent toward the DPRK, and we're obviously prepared to meet without preconditions and we continue to hope that the DPRK will respond positively to that outreach, the administration's outreach," Department of Defense Press Secretary John Kirby said later in a daily press briefing at the Pentagon.

"Our presence on the peninsula is robust, but it is of a defensive nature in keeping with our alliance commitments to South Korea," he added.

The U.S. has some 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea.

North Korea has long demanded the withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea, accusing joint ROK-U.S. military exercises of being war rehearsals.

North Korea has stayed away from denuclearization negotiations since 2019.

With regard to Moon's remarks that Seoul is not considering boycotting the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, the state department spokesperson said a decision to participate in or boycott the event in China was for each country to make.

"What I would say is that the South Korean president's decision on their participation in the Olympics is theirs to make. It's not for the U.S. or any other government to make for themselves," she said when asked if South Korea's participation in the Olympics may undermine the U.S.-South Korea alliance.

"Of course, we made our own decision and we've consulted with our allies and partners before the White House announced our decision," she said. "Anything else beyond that, of course, we're treating these games as business as usual."

The U.S. earlier said its diplomatic boycott only meant the country will not send an official, diplomatic delegation but still send an athletic delegation.


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