Biden envoy calls on North Korea to restart nuclear talks
President Biden’s special envoy for North Korea is calling on the country to restart nuclear talks with the U.S., after holding discussions with officials in South Korea regarding the halted nuclear discussions.
Special envoy Sung Kim told his counterparts in North Korea that he is prepared to meet “anywhere and at any time” to engage in nuclear conversations, according to The Associated Press.
Kim’s comments reportedly came after he held talks with South Korean officials about the stalled talks with the North.
North Korea has taken issue with the U.S. conducting military drills with South Korea. Earlier this month, Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, warned that the joint exercises will undermine the relationship between the Koreas.
Sung Kim, after meeting with senior South Korean diplomat Noh Kyu-duk, emphasized that the Biden administration does not mean to signal hostility toward North Korea by conducting drills with the South, contending that they are routine and defensive, according to the AP.
The two men told reporters that they spoke about potential ways to facilitate diplomacy, including humanitarian collaboration with North Korea for supplying anti-virus resources, sanitation and safe water, the wire service reported.
They did not, however, reveal any specific plans.
“The United States does not have hostile intention for [North Korea],” Sung Kim said, according to the AP.
He also noted that joint military drills between the U.S. and South Korea military are “long-standing, routine and purely defensive in nature and support the security of both our countries.”
“I continue to stand ready to meet with my North Korean counterpart at anywhere and at any time,” he added.
Noh, according to Reuters, said the two men “agreed to work together to resume dialogue with North Korea as soon as possible.”
Sung Kim is also scheduled to meet with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov, who is also visiting South Korea, according to the AP.
Nuclear talks between the U.S. and North Korea have been on thin ice since 2019, when a summit between former President Trump and Kim Jong Un collapsed after Americans declined Korea’s demand for economic sanctions to be eased in exchange for a partial decrease of its nuclear capabilities, the AP noted.
North Korea earlier this month posed the idea of lifting international sanctions barring metal exports and imports of refined fuel and other necessities in exchange for the resumption of nuclear talks with the U.S.
The North also asked for sanctions to be eased on its imports for luxury goods so it could bring in fine liquors and suits, according to a report from Reuters published at the time.