United States Far From Negotiations With North Korea, Says Tillerson

Elias Hubbard
March 8, 2018

North Korean Gen. Kim Yong Chol told the South Korean president late in February that the North "is willing to have talks with the USA", a point he made multiple times during his visit to the South.

"In terms of direct talks with the United States - and you asked negotiations, and we're a long ways from negotiations", he said. He says the first step is talks, not negotiations.

The North is open to "frank" talks with the United States on denuclearisation and would suspend missile and nuclear tests while dialogue was under way, the South's national security adviser Chung Eui-yong said after returning from a meeting in Pyongyang with Kim.

"I don't know yet until we are able to meet ourselves face-to-face with representatives of North Korea whether the conditions are right to even begin thinking about negotiations", Tillerson said. "We should not ease our stance, for instance relax sanctions, just because North Korea agreed to have a dialogue".

The remarks comes two days after President Donald Trump expressed optimism that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may be amenable to ending the country's nuclear weapons program.

When Vice President Mike Pence visited South Korea for the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, he was reportedly supposed to meet with the North Korean delegation, but the North backed out at the last minute.

"The Korean peninsula issue has finally taken an important step in the right direction", Wang told a press conference on the sidelines of annual parliamentary session.

Moon Jae-in spoke on Thursday morning before two senior Seoul officials were to head to the United States to brief officials about the outcome of their recent visit to North Korea.

Some experts question how honest North Korea is about its reported offers.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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