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US, South Korea agree to convince North to resume nuclear talks

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – Senior US and South Korean officials agreed on Thursday to try to convince North Korea to resume talks over its nuclear program, which Pyongyang insisted it not do to protest what she calls American hostility.

US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman was in Seoul as part of her regional tour that will take her to China this weekend. She will be the highest U.S. official to visit China since President Joe Biden took office in January.

On Thursday, she met with South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong for talks on North Korea, the military alliance between Seoul and Washington and other regional issues.

The two men agreed to continue close consultations to get North Korea to resume talks and an agreed dialogue is essential for full denuclearization and permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula, Chung’s ministry said in a statement.

Chung asked Sherman to make an effort to strengthen the South Korean-American alliance. Sherman responded that she would, saying the alliance is the key to peace, security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region and Northeast Asia, the statement said.

U.S.-led diplomacy aimed at stripping North Korea of ​​its nuclear program in return for economic and political benefits has stalled for about two and a half years. A major sticking point is North Korea’s calls for the United States to abandon the policy it sees as hostile – an apparent reference to the sanctions imposed by the United States for its previous nuclear and missile tests.

Last month, the influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un dismissed the prospect of a quick restart in nuclear diplomacy, saying the United States’ expectations for the talks “would plunge them into greater disappointment.” After his statement, Kim’s Foreign Minister said North Korea was not even considering the possibility of contact with the Americans which he said “would get us nowhere, only taking time.” precious ”.

The back-to-back blunt statements cloud hopes for a resumption of diplomacy that flared after Kim said North Korea was ready for both dialogue and confrontation – but no longer confrontation.

Some experts say North Korea is likely to find the urgent need to resume talks with the United States if its current economic woes related to the pandemic worsen further.

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