Seoul urges US to loosen demands if North Korea talks to start | News | DW | 26.02.2018
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Seoul urges US to loosen demands if North Korea talks to start

South Korea has said the US and North Korea must find common ground if talks can go ahead. President Trump said he was open to talks but only if the conditions were right, meaning the North agreeing to denuclearization.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday urged the US and North Korea to find common ground if they are to start talking on how to resolve the crisis over the North's nuclear weapons programs.

US President Donald Trump had earlier insisted that North Korea meet certain conditions before talks could start.

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Lowering the threshold

Speaking at a meeting in Seoul with Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong, Moon said:

  • "There is a need for the United States to lower the threshold for talks with North Korea, and North Korea should show it is willing to denuclearize. It's important the US and North Korea sit down together quickly."
  • "Recently, North Korea has shown it is open to actively engaging the US in talks and the US is talking about the importance of dialogue," Moon said.

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US holdout: The North and the South have enjoyed a warming of relations in recent weeks after the North sent a delegation to the recent Olympics and agreed to host Moon, while the US has not altered its position.

What the US has said: Trump on Monday demanded the North follow heavy conditions before they could have talks. "They want to talk. We want to talk also, only under the right conditions. Otherwise we're not talking [,...] We'll see what happens. That's my attitude," he said. 

Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for bolstering China's sanctions against the North and warned that Russia is "behaving badly" on the issue. The US also imposed a new round of sanctions last Friday, 

What the North has said: A high-level delegation from North Korea has been visiting Seoul and meeting South Korean officials, including Moon, after
attending the Olympics' closing ceremony on Sunday.

The North has said it is open to talk but has made no indication it is willing to consider denuclearization. 

When talks are not talks: US officials have differentiated talks from negotiations and said Washington's position is that North Korea must ditch its nuclear and missile programs before any talks can go ahead.

jbh/aw (AP, Reuters)

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