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U.S. envoy: Door for negotiations with North Korea is open

Sydney Seiler said the breakthrough with Iran is an example of U.S. flexibility and willingness to engage with countries that have long held views that differ from Washington’s.

By Elizabeth Shim
U.S. envoy: Door for negotiations with North Korea is open
The U.S. special envoy to the Six-Party Talks, Sydney Seiler, said Washington has been pursuing a two-track approach with North Korea: pursuing talks while placing pressure where necessary. File Photo by Yonhap

SEOUL, July 27 (UPI) -- U.S. diplomat Sydney Seiler said the Iran nuclear deal was a sign of Washington's flexibility that could apply to North Korea – if Pyongyang is willing to pursue a path beyond proliferation.

The special envoy to the Six-Party Talks made the statement on Monday in Seoul, after meeting with South Korean officials, Yonhap reported.

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Seiler had met with Kim Gunn, director general for North Korean nuclear affairs at Seoul's Foreign Ministry and Hwang Joon-kook, special representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs, before meeting with reporters.

Seiler said the door for negotiations with North Korea is open, that is, if Pyongyang decides to turn away from its diplomatic and economic isolation with a commitment to denuclearization.

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The U.S. envoy said Washington has been pursuing a two-track approach with North Korea: pursuing talks while placing pressure where necessary, according to South Korean newspaper Herald Business.

Seiler said the breakthrough with Iran is an example of U.S. flexibility and willingness to engage with countries that have long held views that differ from Washington's. Similarly, he said, the United States is committed to resolving the North Korea nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiations.

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Washington, however, is well aware of the obstacles that face the pursuit of Iran-style dialogue, Seiler said.

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North Korea has been unwilling to speak to the United States for a long time and has disappointed South Korea. Seoul has worked hard to pursue North-South dialogue, Seiler said.

Last week North Korea officially rejected an Iran-style nuclear deal on Tuesday citing U.S. threats, but viewed the development as a positive for Tehran.

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