Defense

Trump envoy to North Korea: ‘Door is wide open’ for talks

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President Trump’s envoy to North Korea said Wednesday that the door remains “wide open” for negotiations, even as the two sides appear to be at an impasse.

“The door is wide open for negotiations,” Stephen Biegun, the U.S. special representative for North Korea, said in remarks at an Atlantic Council event in Washington.

Trump’s second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, held in Hanoi in February, ended abruptly with the two unable to make progress on talks to convince Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons program. Since then, the country has resumed short-range ballistic missile tests, rattling the U.S. and its allies.{mosads}

“The time the leaders spent together is time well spent,” Biegun said as he expressed optimism over future talks.

Biegun said that at the second summit North Korea did not allow its negotiators to discuss denuclearization, something he said should be on the table if talks resume.

“The negotiators, when they meet with us again, must be empowered to be able to negotiate on all the issues,” he said.

Last week, Trump said he had received a “beautiful” letter from Kim and expressed hope that the two sides could resume talks.

“We have a very good relationship together,” the president said.

Biegun was joined at Wednesday’s event by the top South Korean negotiator, Lee Do-hoon.

Lee said that all of the parties involved were “very much eager to continue negotiations.” And he referenced Kim’s letter to Trump, saying it would “keep the momentum of dialogue alive for now.”

Tensions have increased since the failed Hanoi summit.

In May, North Korea tested short-range ballistic missiles. Biegun said those actions “reach a level of concern for” the U.S.

But Pyongyang has continued to maintain a self-imposed moratorium on testing long-range missiles since November 2017, which Biegun called a successful result of Trump and Kim’s negotiations.

Tags Donald Trump Kim Jong Un

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