US Rejects N Korea Deadline for Nuclear Talks
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US Rejects N Korea Deadline for Nuclear Talks

During a visit to South Korea on Monday, US special envoy for the North Stephen Biegun said Washington was willing to put “all issues of interest” to discussion with Pyongyang, urging North Korea to return America’s offer of fresh talks. “Let me speak directly to our counterparts in North Korea. It is time for us to do our jobs. Let's get this done. We are here, and you know how to reach us,” Biegun said at a joint presser with his South Korean counterpart Lee Do-hoon. “The United States does not have a deadline. We have a goal,” said the US diplomat in reference to the year-end date North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has set for Washington to take a “new path” and change its policy of insisting on Pyongyang’s unilateral denuclearization. Biegun’s visit to Seoul comes as Pyongyang has resumed the military tests it had suspended in the light of diplomacy with the US. The two sides have also engaged in a fresh war of words. Last weekend, Trump took to Twitter to deliver a threat to North Korea shortly after Pyongyang said it had conducted a “successful test of great significance” at its Sohae Satellite Launching Station. Trump said in the tweet that Kim was “too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way.” Pyongyang shot back shortly afterwards, calling Trump “a heedless and erratic old man” and saying it already had “nothing to lose.” A week later on Sunday, the North’s state media said Pyongyang had successfully conducted another test at the satellite launch site aimed at “restraining and overpowering the US nuclear threat.” During Monday’s presser, Biegun expressed regret over statements made by North Korean officials in recent weeks, describing them as “so hostile and negative and so unnecessary.” “But it does not have to be this way. It is not yet too late,” Biegun said. Kim and Trump have met three times since last year to negotiate an end to North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, which Pyongyang argues are defensive in nature. The diplomatic process, however, hit a deadlock as Washington refused to ease the harsh sanctions on Pyongyang despite the several good-will steps that the North took unilaterally to boost diplomacy. On talks with the US, the North Korean Foreign Ministry said last week that Washington had actually nothing to offer in possible negotiations. “The US talks about dialog whenever it opens its mouth, but it is too natural that the US has nothing to present before us though dialogue may open,” it said in a statement.

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