Saturday, December 7, 2019 | ePaper

US hopes North Korea talks will go ahead despite Pyongyang threat

  • Print


US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus speaking at a press conference at White House on Tuesday.

AFP, Washington  :
The United States said Tuesday it hoped to hold denuclearization talks with North Korea, after Pyongyang warned that US-South Korean military exercises could affect their planned resumption.
The North had earlier Tuesday hinted it could even reconsider its moratorium on nuclear testing over next month's drills, which have been held for years but were scaled down to ease tensions with Pyongyang.
It was the North's first statement on the talks since US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to a resumption of dialogue at an impromptu meeting in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two Koreas on June 30.
Responding to the North's statement, the State Department said it remained upbeat over commitments made by Kim and Trump during their June encounter and at a February summit in Vietnam.
"From our perspective, we would hope that no one would try to block, in their government or our government, the ability for President Trump and Chairman Kim to make progress on the commitments they made to each other in Vietnam," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus told reporters.
"We look forward, of course, to resuming those negotiations and we hope to talk, always, so we can advance progress on these commitments."
The South Korean government also said on Wednesday it expected the talks to go ahead and that it hoped they would result in "practical progress".
There are close to 30,000 US troops stationed in South Korea.
Their annual drills with tens of thousands of South Korean soldiers have always infuriated the North-with Pyongyang condemning the manoeuvres as rehearsals for invasion.
Following Trump's first historic summit with Kim in Singapore last year, the US president announced the suspension of what he called Washington's "very provocative" joint military exercises with South Korea.
But a smaller-scale version of the exercises were held in March, with more scheduled for August.
On Tuesday, an unnamed North Korean foreign ministry spokesperson described the drills as "clearly a breach" of a joint statement signed by the leaders in Singapore and suggested Pyongyang may resume weapons tests in response.
"If the military exercise really goes ahead, it would affect the DPRK-US working-level talks," the official said in comments carried by state news agency KCNA, using North Korea's official initials.
Pyongyang's moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests was a commitment aimed at improving bilateral relations and "not a legal document inscribed on a paper," the official said.
"With the US unilaterally reneging on its commitments, we are gradually losing our justifications to follow through on the commitments we made with the US as well."
Washington has previously insisted on North Korea's complete denuclearization as a condition for lifting punishing US sanctions.

More News For this Category

India's Muslims split in response to Hindu temple verdict

India's Muslims split in response to Hindu temple verdict

AP, New Delhi :India's largest Muslim political groups are divided over how to respond to a Supreme Court ruling that favors Hindus' right to a disputed site 27 years

China's defence budget increased 850pc over 20 years: Pentagon

China's defence budget increased 850pc over 20 years: Pentagon

PTI, Washington :China's defense budget has grown 850 per cent in the last 20 years from $20 billion to $170 billion in 2018, a top Pentagon official told lawmakers

Uber reveals it received 6,000 sexual assault claims in US in two years

Uber reveals it received 6,000 sexual assault claims in US in two years

AFP, :Nearly 6,000 instances of sexual assault, including more than 450 cases of rape, were reported to Uber in the United States in 2017 and 2018, the ride-sharing company

News In Brief

Verdict in Musharraf treason case on Dec 17PTI, IslamabadThe verdict in the high treason case against former Pakistan dictator General (retd) Pervez Musharraf would be pronounced on December 17,

Independence not on ballot, but on voters' minds in Scotland

Independence not on ballot, but on voters' minds in Scotland

AP, Scotland :Ask voters in this picturesque university town in eastern Scotland how they're voting in next week's election, and they're likely to transition seamlessly from talking about which

US considering troop boost to counter Iran

US considering troop boost to counter Iran

AFP, Washington :The United States said Thursday it was considering deploying fresh forces to counter Iran, with an official saying some 5,000 to 7,000 troops could head to the

Macron pension reform: France braces for severe disruption amid strike

Macron pension reform: France braces for severe disruption amid strike

France is enduring severe disruption as millions of workers threaten to strike in protest at being forced to retire later or face reduced pensions.School and transport workers will join police,

At 50, Europe's oldest nuclear plant not ready to retire

At 50, Europe's oldest nuclear plant not ready to retire

AFP, Beznau :Europe's oldest functioning nuclear reactor, at Switzerland's Beznau plant, will turn 50 next week - a lifespan deemed dangerously long by environmentalists who are demanding that it be

Pentagon denies US mulling 14,000 more troops for Middle East

Pentagon denies US mulling 14,000 more troops for Middle East

The Pentagon on Wednesday denied a report that the United States was weighing sending up to 14,000 more troops to the Middle East in the face of a perceived threat

Moon calls for Chinese role in denuclearizing North Korea

Moon calls for Chinese role in denuclearizing North Korea

AP, Seoul :South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Thursday the global diplomatic push to defuse the nuclear standoff with North Korea is at a "critical crossroads" and called for China