U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said Washington delivered a message to North Korea on its intention to renew denuclearization talks. The stalemate between the U.S. and the North, however, is likely to remain stuck as Pyongyang has effectively rejected the call from Washington through the words of Kim Kye Gwan, the advisor to the North Korean ministry of foreign affairs.
In an interview with Axios, O’Brien said the U.S. contacted the North to express its willingness to continue on the talks that were held in Stockholm last October. “We've been letting them know, through various channels, that we would like to get negotiations back on track and to implement Chairman Kim's commitment to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” added the U.S. national security advisor. The interview was aired on Sunday.
Though when or how was not mentioned, such a message is likely to have been sent through the message that U.S. President Donald Trump sent to Kim Jong Un on his birthday (Jan. 8).
Mentioning the birthday message, Axios said, “President Trump is again trying to lean on what he has described as his warm personal relationship with the brutal North Korean dictator.”
O’Brien also let it be known that he was cautiously optimistic about the fact that Kim hasn’t delivered his promised “Christmas gift.” The U.S. official called it “an encouraging sign” while adding that it does not mean “we won’t see some sort of test in the future.”
In a statement carried out by the North’s state news agency KCNA on Saturday, Kim Kye Gwan revealed Pyongyang’s stance on the issue. He drew a line clearly, by saying, "The reopening of dialogue between North Korea and the U.S. may be possible only under the condition of the latter's absolute agreement on the issues raised by the former.”
Professor Park Won-gon of Handong Global University said that North Korea knows that Washington has neither the intention nor the ability to make generous concessions, adding that this explains why the North has proclaimed such a stance to tackle the issue in the long term.”
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