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U.S. diplomat offers talks with North Korea 'anywhere, anytime'

U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim said Monday in Seoul that the United States is open to negotiations after Kim Jong Un said he is ready for both dialogue and confrontation. File Photo by KCNA/UPI
U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim said Monday in Seoul that the United States is open to negotiations after Kim Jong Un said he is ready for both dialogue and confrontation. File Photo by KCNA/UPI | License Photo

June 21 (UPI) -- The top U.S. diplomat in charge of North Korea negotiations said Biden administration officials are willing to meet with Pyongyang's negotiators without preconditions.

Sung Kim, currently the U.S. ambassador to Indonesia, said Monday during a trilateral meeting with South Korean and Japanese counterparts in Seoul that the United States is willing to meet -- a reference to a recent statement from Kim Jong Un.

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"We continue to hope that [North Korea] will respond positively to our outreach and our offer to meet anywhere, anytime without preconditions," Kim said, according to Yonhap.

"We will also urge all U.N. member states, especially U.N. Security Council members, to do the same, to address the threat posed to the international community by [North Korea]."

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Kim met Monday with South Korean counterparts, Noh Kyu-duk and Takehiro Funakoshi, at Lotte Hotel in central Seoul.

The U.S. ambassador's trip comes after Kim Jong Un said his country is ready for both dialogue and confrontation with the United States.

The North Korean statement addressing relations with the United States drew a response from the White House over the weekend.

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National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday on ABC's "This Week" that the comments are an "interesting signal."

"We are awaiting a clear signal from Pyongyang as to whether they are prepared to sit down at the table to begin working in that direction," Sullivan told host George Stephanopoulos. "His comments this week we regard as an interesting signal. And we will wait to see whether they are followed up with any kind of more direct communication to us about a potential path forward."

Sullivan also said the administration hopes North Korea agrees to talks.

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"Well, the clear signal they could send is to say, yes, let's do it. Let's sit down and begin negotiations," Sullivan said. "We think that just in the case of the Iranian nuclear issue, with the North Korean nuclear issue, there's no substitute for diplomacy to begin to make progress towards that ultimate objective -- the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

Noh recently said Seoul would play a "necessary role" for dialogue to resume with Pyongyang, News 1 reported Monday.

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