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US tells UN is ready to be flexible in North Korea talks

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The United States is ready “to simultaneously take concrete steps” toward a deal aimed at getting North Korea to give up its nuclear and missile programs, but the Security Council must be prepared to respond to any provocations, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations said on Wednesday.

The 15-member Security Council met on Wednesday at the request of the United States as concerns grow internationally that North Korea could resume nuclear or long-range missile testing – suspended since 2017 – because denuclearization talks between Pyongyang and Washington have stalled.

“We remain ready to take actions in parallel, and to simultaneously take concrete steps toward this agreement. We are prepared to be flexible in how we approach this matter,” U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft said. “And we recognize the need for a balanced agreement that addresses the concerns of all parties.”

But she added that North Korea needed to make “the difficult, but bold decision” to work with the United States.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has given U.S. President Donald Trump until the end of 2019 to show flexibility. North Korea’s U.N. ambassador, Kim Song, declared on Saturday, however, that denuclearization was off the table.

Trump then warned that Kim risked losing “everything” if he resumes hostility and that North Korea must denuclearize. Trump and Kim have met three times since June 2018, but no progress toward a deal has been made.

Craft said that the Security Council must be ready to “act accordingly” if North Korea follows through on its public hints that it could resume “serious provocations.”

“In practical terms, this would mean that the DPRK could launch space vehicles using long-range ballistic missile technology, or that they could even test-launch intercontinental ballistic missiles, which are designed to attack the continental United States with nuclear weapons,” Craft said.

She gave no details on possible Security Council action.

[Reuters]

Vanguard News Nigeria.

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