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North Korea wants to talk directly with U.S.

July 2, 2013 at 10:41 AM

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei, July 2 (UPI) -- The U.S. government is being called to accept an offer to discuss nuclear issues with North Korea directly and without conditions, an envoy said.

Choi Myung-nam, an international affairs director at the North Korean Foreign Ministry, said Washington needs to take diplomatic offers seriously. The envoy said if the U.S. government is serious about addressing nuclear security concerns on the Korean Peninsula, it should accept an engagement offer unconditionally, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported Tuesday.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said from the ASEAN Regional Forum in Brunei a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula was a strategic priority for the United States. Similar statements emerged from meetings last week between Chinese and South Korean leaders in Beijing.

North Korea has conducted three separate nuclear tests since multilateral nuclear negotiations were suspended in 2009.

The U.S. government followed early engagement offers from North Korea with statements expressing its commitment to the multilateral format. Choi said the North Korean government would not give up its nuclear program unless the United States "withdraws its hostile policy against our country."

North Korea said it viewed bilateral military maneuvers involving U.S. and South Korean forces this year as a belligerent act.

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