January 14, 2020 09:48
The U.S. has "reached out to the North Koreans" to ask it to resume denuclearization talks, according to a senior White House official on Friday.
In an interview with news website Axios, White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien said, "We've reached out to the North Koreans and let them know that we would like to continue the negotiations in Stockholm that were last undertaken in early October."
"We've been letting them know, through various channels, that we would like to get those [negotiations] back on track and to implement [North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's] commitment" to denuclearization, he added.
In a statement issued Saturday, North Korea's long-time nuclear point man Kim Kye-gwan signaled a microscopic thaw, saying the regime received a birthday message for Kim Jong-un "directly through a personal letter" from U.S. President Donald Trump.
O'Brien said, "All we know is we were told we were going to get a Christmas gift and the Christmas gift didn't come. And so I think that was an encouraging sign."
North Korea dropped a heavy hint at a fresh provocation late last year by threatening the U.S. with a "Christmas gift" unless sanctions were eased.
Axios commented, "It appears President Trump is again trying to lean on what he has described as his warm personal relationship with the brutal North Korean dictator."
But Kim Kye-gwan in his statement also said that it is foolish to hope for the resumption of talks or try to create such an atmosphere based merely on the personal relationship between Kim Jong-un and Trump.
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