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North Korea says ready for dialogue, confrontation with US

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said on Friday Pyongyang is ready for both dialogue and confrontation with the United States (US), warning Washington that continuing with sanctions would be a miscalculation, according to state media KCNA.

US President Donald Trump (R) and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un shake hands following a signing ceremony during their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018.
Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un became on June 12 the first sitting US and North Korean leaders to meet, shake hands and negotiate to end a decades-old nuclear stand-off. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB

Working-level talks between the United States and North Korea have yet to restart since stalling after the failed second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi in February.

Trump and Kim met again in June at the inter-Korean border and agreed to reopen negotiations, but that has not happened as yet.

“If the U.S. is still dreaming of achieving everything with sanctions, we must either let it dream on or shatter that dream,” Ri said.

“We are prepared for both dialogue and confrontation. If the US tries to confront us with sanctions and not abandon its confrontational posture, it would be a miscalculation.”

Ri also accused US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of casting “dark shadows” over U.S.-North Korea talks, claiming that Pompeo was more interested in his own political ambitions than in current US foreign policy.

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The remarks on KCNA were prompted by Pompeo’s comments in a media interview this week saying if North Korea doesn’t denuclearise, the U.S. will maintain the strongest sanctions in history while convincing North Korea that denuclearization is the right path, Ri said.

Reuters reported that the US envoy, Stephen Biegun, who leads working-level talks with North Korea, arrived in Seoul on Tuesday to discuss the talks.

Denuclearization talks were expected to be reopened soon, South Korea’s deputy national security adviser Kim Hyun-chong said, giving his upbeat assessment after meeting Biegun on Thursday.

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