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North Korea rejects 'preconditions' for U.S. talks

By Yonhap News Agency
North Korea rejects 'preconditions' for U.S. talks
This image released on December 9, 2017, by the North Korean Official News Service (KCNA), shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a sightseeing trip to Mount Paektu, an active volcano on the border between North Korea and China. File Photo by KCNA/UPI | License Photo

March 3 (UPI) -- North Korea said Saturday there will be no talks with the United States if they come with any "preconditions," reasserting that it has no intent to abandon its nuclear and missile programs in exchange for dialogue with Washington.

"We are willing to resolve the issue peacefully and diplomatically through dialogue and negotiation, but we will never beg for talks nor will we avoid the military option that the U.S. rambles on about," a spokesman of the North's foreign ministry was quoted as saying by the Korean Central News Agency, the state mouthpiece.

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The comment comes in response to a remark by U.S. President Donald Trump late last month that he would only want to talk to Pyongyang under the "right conditions." Washington has made it clear that steps by North Korea toward denuclearization should be the basis of any dialogue between the two countries.

The possibility of talks between Washington and Pyongyang gained traction after the North stated its willingness for dialogue more than once last month, amid its participation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in has expressed hopes for talks between the two sides, saying it would help pave the way for denuclearization negotiations amid improved inter-Korean ties.

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But the North's foreign ministry said Washington's call for preconditions only reaffirms that it does not want to resume dialogue.

"We call for a dialogue that mutually discusses agendas that concern both parties on equal positions," it said. "We have never sat at a table with the U.S. on the premise of preconditions, and it will never happen in future."

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