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Washington sets 3-month deadline to seek negotiations with Pyongyang

Washington sets 3-month deadline to seek negotiations with Pyongyang

Posted December. 24, 2018 07:54,   

Updated December. 24, 2018 07:54


The Donald Trump administration recently set a practical deadline by which it will determine whether Washington can continue to seek nuclear talks with Pyongyang, it been reported. The South Korean government also shares the understanding with the Trump administration, and is sending messages behind the scene to the North to urge Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table after the release of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s Message on January 1.

Multiple sources in the South Korean government revealed the mood in Washington on Sunday, saying, “Washington has had a quite negative assessment of North Korea’s National Defense Committee Chairman Kim Jong Un, but has barely shifted its stance recently and decided to seek dialogue for the last time.”

The Trump administration has decided to persuade Pyongyang once again. Visiting Seoul to attend the South Korea-U.S. Walking Group meeting last Wednesday, Stephen Biegun, the U.S. Special Representative for North Korea, issued a surprise message of its intention to consider humanitarian aid to the North and to reconsider the ban on Americans’ tour to the North. To maximize the impact of his message and to test the North’s hidden intention, Biegun did not even share his suggestions with Seoul in advance. “The move was intended to send an overture to Pyongyang for the last time, and to send Washington’s message that it is running out of patience and time for implementing reconciliatory measures,” a diplomatic source in Seoul said.

ABC News reported on Saturday that Vice President Mike Pence cancelled his plan to deliver a speech meant to criticize the North’s human rights violations and sanctions against Pyongyang last week. However, Pyongyang had yet to show any response to Washington’s string of reconciliatory gestures as of Sunday afternoon.

Na-Ri Shin journari@donga.com