N Korean diplomat seeks "unconditional" US talks

Featured Korea - July 3rd, 2013
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A top North Korean diplomat said the US must “unconditionally” accept its offer of dialogue if it wants to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula.

“The US must positively respond to our sincere and courageous decision to offer talks without preconditions if it is truly interested in ending the vicious circle of intensifying tension on the Korean Peninsula and safeguarding peace and stability,” the North’s foreign minister Pak Ui Chun said.

Pyongyang said last month it was ready to return to long-stalled international nuclear disarmament talks and offered to open up to the US, reports The Associated Press.

The regime also eased its warlike rhetoric but insisted that US “hostile policy” could push the peninsula closer to war.

South Korea quickly rebuffed Pak’s statement and insisted the North must take concrete actions towards denuclearization before talks could restart.

It is also unlikely that the US will accept North Korea’s dialogue offer any time soon, experts say.

“I want to emphasize … all four of us are absolutely united and absolutely firm in our insistence that the future with respect to North Korea must include denuclearization,” said US Secretary of State John Kerry.

The two Koreas were among 27 nations at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum in Brunei, where the North’s nuclear weapons program was a key topic.