In a statement released by North Korea’s state news agency, the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ri Son Gwon rejected an offer by America’s envoy to meet “anywhere, anytime” after negotiations between the two nations stalled.
The Korean Central New Agency (KCNA) quoted Ri on Wednesday as firmly stating that North Korea is “not considering even the possibility of any contact with the US,” adding that negotiations right now would just be “taking up precious time.”
The minister’s comments follow a similar statement from Kim Yo-jong, the younger sister of North Korea’s leader, on Tuesday. Kim, who is the vice department director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), warned that false expectations from the US could simply “plunge them into greater disappointment.”
While the US government’s special envoy on North Korea, Sung Kim, expressed hope that Pyongyang would respond “positively to our outreach,” Kim suggested America might be interpreting “the situation in such a way as to seek a comfort for itself.”
On Monday, Sung said he had offered to meet Pyongyang officials “anywhere, anytime” to restart negotiations between the two states “without pre-conditions.” However, the envoy’s remark was paired with a warning that, until the talks resume, Washington will continue to enforce UN sanctions on the Asian nation.
President Joe Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan had indicated that the White House hoped a statement from Kim Jong-un at a political conference last week would lead to nuclear talks restarting, after the North Korea leader told officials to prepare to engage in more dialogue.
Nuclear talks between the US and North Korea stalled after Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump failed to reach an agreement over the easing of American sanctions in return for progress from Pyongyang on denuclearization.
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