NNN: North Korea, believed to be ready to test a new nuclear weapon, has ignored several US offers for talks as well as offers of help in its Covid-19 outbreak, a US diplomat said on Tuesday.
Speaking after Pyongyang launched eight ballistic missiles in a single day on Sunday, Sung Kim, the US special representative to North Korea, said the country had failed to respond to months of public and private communications aimed at resolving tensions.
President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have repeatedly stated publicly that Washington is seeking diplomatic talks with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea “without preconditions”, Kim said.
“We have also reached out to get this message across through private channels. This includes high-level personal messages from senior US officials to senior DPRK officials,” he told reporters at a briefing.
“Over the past year, we have sent these types of messages in multiple ways, through third parties, directly in writing,” he added, noting that this included Korea’s neighbor China. North.
These messages included specific proposals on humanitarian cooperation and assistance in the face of the recent Covid-19 outbreak in North Korea, Kim said.
“However, to date, the DPRK has not responded and still shows no signs that it is interested in participating,” he said.
US officials have grown increasingly concerned about the increase in Pyongyang’s nuclear activities.
Kim said Washington believed it would soon conduct its seventh nuclear weapons test, after a nearly five-year hiatus.
He also said North Korean officials had made comments suggesting a willingness to use small or tactical nuclear weapons.
Kim did not say how the United States would react to another nuclear test.
US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman spoke Tuesday morning in Seoul, warning of a “swift and forceful” response.
“Any nuclear test would be in total violation of UN Security Council resolutions,” he said.
On Monday, South Korea and the United States fired eight ballistic missiles in response to missile launches from North Korea.
“The United States has always been very clear: we seek dialogue with Pyongyang without preconditions,” Kim said.
“We remain committed to diplomacy even as the DPRK launches an unprecedented number of ballistic missiles.”