North Korean diplomat: Talks with U.S. are 'possible'

By Jennie Oh  |  Dec. 12, 2017 at 5:06 AM
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SEOUL, South Korea, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- A top North Korean diplomat has reportedly said a dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington "is possible," given the right conditions.

Japanese broadcaster NHK reported that the North's ambassador to the United Nations Ja Song Nam arrived in Beijing on Tuesday, where he told reporters that talks with the United States could be in the cards.

When asked what kind of conditions would check the boxes, Ja said they would have to be "conditions the North requires."

Experts say the reclusive regime is seeking Washington's acceptance of North Korea as a nuclear state, which could be a precondition for talks.

"The North wishes to hold a one-on-one negotiation with Washington. President Trump is all about doing business so the regime appears to be aiming to maximize its bargaining capacity to secure the stability of the regime and various other demands through negotiations," Kim Hyung Jun, professor of Politics at Myongji University told YTN.

On Thursday, Russian media reported that Pyongyang expressed its desire to talk to the United States in order to guarantee the regime's security.

Moscow's foreign minister is said to have conveyed this message to Washington during his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the Guardian reported.

Meanwhile, Washington has maintained it will never accept North Korea as a nuclear power. It has also rejected a freeze-for-freeze deal proposed by Beijing and Moscow, in which the North would halt its nuclear program in return for freezing joint military drills between the United States and South Korea.

On the possibility of talks, Washington's senior representative for North Korea policy Joseph Yun said Thursday that Pyongyang would have to prove its sincerity.

A 60-day halt of provocations could be a good starting point, he said.

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