The United States is ready to sit with North Korea to continue the long-awaited nuclear-level nuclear talks, a US envoy said on Wednesday.
Nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang have been stalled since the second summit in Hanoi in February ended without agreement on differences in denuclearization rates and sanctions in return.
But the anticipation for new dialogue has intensified after the US and South Korean security allies completed their two-week joint military exercise on Tuesday.
“We are ready to get involved as soon as we hear from our colleagues in North Korea,” Stephen Biegun, the US special representative for North Korea, said after his meeting with South Korean counterpart Lee Do-hoon in Seoul.
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The comments came amid speculation that Americans could meet with North Korea in the demilitarized zone that divides North and South to begin work-level talks during the three-day stay in Biegun in Seoul, which began Tuesday.
The US envoy denied media reports that he would soon make a diplomatic post in Russia, saying he remained “focused on making progress” with North Korea and “fully committed” to the goal of denuclearization in the North.
Pyongyang regards joint military exercises by the allies as exercises for invasion and routinely expresses anger at war games.
It referred to South Korean President Moon Jae-in last week as “a bastard rarely found” because he hoped to continue inter-Korean talks while continuing military exercises with the US.
Washington has nearly 30,000 troops in the South to defend it from its neighbors.
US President Donald Trump tweeted earlier this month, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed his hope – in a letter sent to him – to continue the dialogue “as soon as the joint US / South Korea joint exercise ends.”
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