U.S. Calls on N.Korea to Return to Talks

  • By Kim Jin-myung

    December 17, 2019 10:02

    U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun, sent both a message of warning and a call for dialogue to the North on Monday ahead of a year-end deadline for talks.

    "We are fully aware of the strong potential for North Korea to conduct major provocations in the days ahead," Biegun said. "To say the least, such an action will be most unhelpful in achieving the lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula."

    "But it does not have to be this way," he said. "It is not yet too late. We and the North Koreans have in our hands the ability to choose a better path."

    President Moon Jae-in (left) shakes hands with U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Monday. /Newsis

    Speaking to reporters at the Foreign Ministry here, Biegun pointed out that the deadline was set unilaterally by the North. "Let me be absolutely clear. The U.S. does not have a deadline. We have a goal to fulfill the commitments the two leaders made during their historic summit meeting in Singapore," he said. "It is time for us to do our jobs. Let's get this done. We are here and you know how to reach us."

    Biegun hopes to meet North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui in the border truce village of Panmunjom, but it is a long shot.

    Biegun added that the U.S. has proposed "feasible steps and flexibility" to reach "balanced" agreements with North Korea, suggesting a phased approach to denuclearization and lifting sanctions.

    President Moon Jae-in met with Biegun at Cheong Wa Dae for about 35 minutes and praised his efforts to achieve denuclearization, according to Cheong Wa Dae. Biegun was quoted as saying that he remains committed to achieving the objectives of denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula.

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