Published: Sun, May 14, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

North Korea open for USA talks under 'right conditions'


Pyongyang would have a dialogue with the Trump administration if the "conditions are there", Yonhap news agency quoted a senior North Korean diplomat, who handles relations with the U.S., as saying.

Kim Jong-il, the father of North Korea's current leader, Kim Jong-un, suspended the committee in 1998.

Head of the Foreign Ministry's North America Bureau, Choe Son-Hui, told reporters at Beijing International Airport that her country "will hold dialogue under right conditions" with President Donald Trump's administration.

Asked by reporters what she discussed with the former USA envoy to the U.N., Choe replied, "I met with Pickering and I will discuss it when given the opportunity in the future".

Reuters news agency reported that at least one former USA government official took part in the meeting but the Trump administration was not involved.

The two countries have not held formal, face-to-face talks since 2008 when global efforts to rein in Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program collapsed.

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Choi did not elaborate on what the North's conditions are, but her comments raise the possibility of North Korea and the United States returning to negotiations for the first time since 2008, when six-nation talks over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program fell apart.

Jae-In said after he was sworn-in on Wednesday that he would be willing to go to North Korea "in the right circumstances".

"We'll have dialogue if the conditions are there", Choe said when asked if the North was preparing to hold talks with the US.

She also said "We'll see" when asked about whether North Korea would be prepared to talk with the new government in South Korea, of President Moon Jae-in.

Last week Pyongyang's powerful ministry of state security said it had foiled a plot by the US and South Korean spy agencies to kill Kim using a biochemical weapon.

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