North Korean Foreign Ministry adviser and former North Korean senior representative to the six-party Talks Kim Kye Gwan on Friday urged U.S. President Donald Trump to make a “wise option and bold decision” to resume the stalled nuclear negotiations. The U.S. has yet to set a specific date for working-level nuclear talks with North Korea. A tug of war has been going on between the U.S. and North Korea for quite some time with the two countries failing to arrange working-level meetings in September.
The Foreign Ministry adviser issued a statement on Friday and said there are prevailing opinions in Washington that North Korea must abandon its nuclear weapons first to have a bright future, and that U.S. sanctions brought North Korea to the negotiating table. Kim blamed the joint military exercises between South Korea and the U.S., and intensified sanctions on North Korea for deterioration in U.S.-North Korea relations. Kim went on to say that he is skeptical that another summit meeting between the two countries would bring a new breakthrough in U.S.-North Korea relations.
Kim has been on the sidelines on nuclear negotiations since May 2018, one month prior to the Singapore summit. It appears North Korea is trying to sound out the opinions of the U.S. about the “new method” President Trump suggested. It seems North Korea thought President Trump’s message to North Korea at the UN General Assembly and South Korea-U.S. summit, such as “transformation” in North Korea policy and “bold diplomacy” was not good enough. Handong University professor Park Won-gon said North Korea aims to achieve a bigger goal of suspending South Korea-U.S. joint military drills or receiving sanctions relief than holding a third U.S.-North Korea summit.
Washington urged Pyongyang to resume nuclear talks without announcing additional rewards. Speaking at a press conference at the UN General Assembly on Thursday (local time), U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the two countries are yet to set a date when they will be able to get together. “We hope the phone rings and that we get that call and we get that chance to find a place and a time that work for the North Koreans,” Pompeo added.
There are speculations that working-level talks between the U.S. and North Korea could be delayed to mid-October as President Trump is embroiled in an impeachment mess due to Trump-Ukraine scandal, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is expected to visit China early October to celebrate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties and a Chinese high-ranking official could make a return visit to North Korea.
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