September 21, 2022 11:46
Deafening silence has met repeated U.S. offers to resume dialogue with North Korea in July through a communication channel in New York, according to Sung Kim, the U.S. special representative for North Korea policy.
Kim told Korean reporters at the U.S. ambassador's residence in Seoul on Tuesday that the U.S. made several offers to North Korea in July to resume diplomatic communications, including an offer of COVID assistance, but there has been no response from Pyongyang.
"I believe our last communication with [North Korea] was during the summer. We sent the message reiterating our interest in re-engagement and also re-offering our assistance in COVID-related items," Kim said. "But I say 'no interest' in the sense that they have not responded to any of our messages."
"As they get the COVID situation under control, and as they open up, hopefully, they might show some interest," he added.
Kim insisted that both Seoul and Washington have "many creative ideas" for re-engagement with North Korea. "We need a willing partner on the other side of the table, who will engage us in a serious discussion about all of these ideas that we have... many creative ideas, including ideas to address their concerns," he said.
Washington has "not ruled out leadership engagement in diplomacy, but it would have to be done in a way that there's adequate preparation, and that prospects for progress are real in order for our president to engage personally," he added.
That sends a clear message that U.S. President Joe Biden will not repeat his predecessor Donald Trump's quixotic summits with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Commenting on Pyongyang's recent commitment to preemptive use of nuclear weapons, he said that sometimes crude "rhetoric" does not reflect reality. "Our policy remains to pursue complete denuclearization through diplomacy" based on close communications with allies.
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