USA 'prepared to engage' with North Korea in nuclear talks: Envoy

Cheryl Sanders
August 21, 2019

"We are prepared to engage as soon as we hear from our counterparts in North Korea", said Mr Stephen Biegun, the United States special representative for North Korea, after his meeting with his South Korean counterpart Mr Lee Do-hoon in Seoul.

He added that he hopes that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will agree to resume negotiations, after three face-to-face meetings with Trump.

North Korea's continued missile tests are of concern to the US government, and negotiations to halt Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions have lagged, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said Tuesday.

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi held separate meetings with South Korea's foreign minister Kang Kyun-wha and Japan's Taro Kono on August 20 - ahead of the first trilateral meeting in three years, to be held on August 21 in Beijing.

"North Korea's ongoing development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles increases the possibility of their use against regional states, furthering instability across the region and beyond, thus affecting vital USA interests", the report said. Trump said Kim wanted to meet again to restart the talks after the U.S.

News of Biegun's trip came after U.S. President Donald Trump said last Saturday that Kim had told him he was ready to resume stalled denuclearization talks with the United States and would stop recent missile testing as soon as U.S.

"We haven't gotten back to the table as quickly as we would have hoped", Pompeo said.

The feud has spilled over into trade, after Japan tightened export controls on materials vital to South Korean chipmakers and then dropped Seoul from a list of countries eligible for fast-track exports, prompting South Korea to take a similar step towards Japan.

Beigun also denied media speculation that he may be appointed as the new US ambassador in Russian Federation.

Pyongyang considers the joint military exercise by the allies a rehearsal for invasion and has routinely expressed anger at the war games.

Beigun was in Seoul for talks with South Korea.

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