North Korea would talk with US under the ′right conditions′: Yonhap | Asia| An in-depth look at news from across the continent | DW | 13.05.2017
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North Korea

North Korea would talk with US under the 'right conditions': Yonhap

A senior North Korean diplomat says Pyongyang would hold talks with the US administration in the right conditions. The US State Department says it remains open to talks if it ceases "illegal activities."

Talks between North Korea and the United States could be held if the circumstances were favorable, a senior Pyongyang diplomat said on Saturday in comments carried by South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

The director general for US affairs of the North Korean Foreign Ministry, Choe Son Hui (above photo), made the remark to reporters in Beijing on her way home from Norway, Yonhap said.

"We'll have dialogue if the conditions are there," she said.

Her remarks come after US President Donald Trump earlier this month said that he would be "honored" to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "under the right circumstances."

Trump also said in an interview with Reuters in late April that he would prefer to use diplomatic means to resolve a long-running dispute with the reclusive communist state over its nuclear and missile programs, though he warned that a "major, major conflict" with the country was possible.

The US State Department said it remained open to talks with the North, but only if it would "cease all its illegal activities and aggressive behavior in the region."

"We have been clear over the past twenty years that we seek nothing but a stable and economically prosperous Korean peninsula," a spokesman told "Reuters."

Südkorea TV Übertragung Raketentest in Nordkora (Getty Images/AFP/J. Yeon-Je)

Pyongyang's missile tests are heightening tensions

'We'll see'

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are running high, with Pyongyang repeatedly carrying out missile tests, most recently at the end of April. Since 2006, the nation has also undertaken five atomic tests in defiance of UN and US sanctions, two of them in the past year, according to statements from Pyongyang.

In response, the US deployed a THAAD missile defense system in South Korea earlier this year, which went into operation this month.

Choe was somewhat less definite when asked whether the North was considering talks with the new government in South Korea under President Moon Jae-in, saying only: "We'll see."

Choe was in Norway for informal meetings with former US officials and scholars discussing a range of nuclear, security and bilateral issues.

Südkorea Präsidentschaftswahl Gewinner Moon Jae-in (Picture-Alliance/P. Young-tae/Newsis via AP)

Moon has struck a conciliatory tone

Moon, who took office on Wednesday, has said he wants a closer and more cooperative relationship with the leadership in Pyongyang, stating that he would be willing to travel to North Korea for talks with Kim.

Read: Moon's olive branch to North Korea

He said sanctions on the North should be accompanied by dialogue aimed at resolving the conflict over North Korea's weapons program, which the North says is intended to deter what it calls "US aggression."

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