Advertisement

Foreign minister: North Korea 'not considering' meeting U.S.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Son Gwon said that Pyongyang was 'not considering' the possibility of meeting with the United States for nuclear negotiations. File photo by  EPA-EFE
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Son Gwon said that Pyongyang was 'not considering' the possibility of meeting with the United States for nuclear negotiations. File photo by  EPA-EFE

SEOUL, June 24 (UPI) -- North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Son Gwon dismissed the notion of dialogue with the United States, saying it "would get us nowhere," in a statement carried by government media.

"We are not considering even the possibility of any contact with the U.S., let alone having it, which would get us nowhere, only taking up precious time," the North's top diplomat said Wednesday evening in state-run Korean Central News Agency.

Advertisement

Ri referenced a message earlier this week by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, in which she said the United States was "facing disappointment" in interpreting Pyongyang's willingness to meet for negotiations.

North Korea's foreign ministry "welcomes the clear-cut press statement" by Kim Yo Jong, Ri said, noting that it "brush[ed] off hasty judgment, conjecture and expectation of the U.S."

RELATED South Korea testing new counter-drone surveillance system for military

His remarks came amid a series of public overtures by Washington officials signaling a willingness to restart diplomatic efforts with Pyongyang.

During a visit to Seoul, U.S. special envoy to North Korea Sung Kim said on Monday that Biden administration officials would meet with Pyongyang's negotiators "anywhere, anytime without preconditions."

Advertisement

On Tuesday, State Dept. spokesman Ned Price said that the comments by Kim Yo Jong "have not changed our view on diplomacy."

RELATED North Korea tested people showing 'severe acute respiratory infections,' WHO says

"We remain prepared to engage in principal negotiations with the DPRK to deal with the challenge of its nuclear program," Price said during a press briefing. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is the official name of North Korea.

"We continue to hope that the DPRK will respond positively to our outreach, and we'll have to wait and see if these comments are followed up with any more direct communications about potential paths forward," Price said. "Again, our policy is not aimed at hostility; it's aimed at solutions."

Nuclear negotiations with North Korea have been on ice since a February 2019 summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, between then-U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un failed to produce an agreement.

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

North Korea had been seeking concessions such as the easing of international sanctions in exchange for taking steps toward dismantling its nuclear arsenal, while the United States held firm on complete denuclearization first.

The Biden administration has called its stance toward North Korea a "calibrated and practical approach that is open to and will explore diplomacy."

Advertisement

Latest Headlines