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N Korea rebuffs U.S. offer of December talks

8 Comments
By Hyonhee Shin and Joyce Lee

North Korea said on Thursday it had turned down a U.S. offer for fresh talks, saying it was not interested in more talks merely aimed at "appeasing us" ahead of a year-end deadline Pyongyang has set for Washington to show more flexibility in the negotiations.

Kim Myong Gil, the North's nuclear negotiator, said in a report carried by state media that Stephen Biegun, his U.S. counterpart who jointly led last month's failed denuclearisation talks in Stockholm, had offered through a third country to meet again.

Kim and Biegun met last month in the Swedish capital for the first time since U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed in June to re-open negotiations that have been stalled since a failed summit in Vietnam in February.

But the Stockholm meeting fell apart, with Kim Myong Gil saying the U.S. side had failed to present a new approach.

"If the negotiated solution of issues is possible, we are ready to meet with the U.S. at any place and any time," Kim Myong Gil said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

But he called Biegun's proposal a "sinister aim of appeasing us in a bid to pass with ease" Pyongyang's year-end deadline."We have no willingness to have such negotiations."

North Korea has been seeking a lifting of punishing sanctions, but the United States has insisted Kim Jong Un must dismantle his nuclear weapons program first.

JOINT DRILLS

The North Korean statement came after General Mark Milley, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, reaffirmed that the United States was ready to use the "full range" of its capabilities to defend South Korea from any attack.

Senior U.S. defense officials are gathering in Seoul for annual meetings as the two countries face intensifying threats from North Korea to stop joint military drills.

The United States is also seeking a greater financial contribution from South Korea for hosting American troops, while urging Seoul to revoke its decision to scrap an intelligence-sharing pact with Japan known as GSOMIA, which Washington worries would undermine trilateral cooperation.

Milley met his South Korean counterpart General Park Han-ki for the annual Military Committee Meeting (MCM) on Thursday.

Both sides discussed ways to maintain solid defense posture and a planned transfer of wartime operational control to South Korea, a joint statement said, even as they have scaled back joint exercises to expedite negotiations with North Korea.

Milley reiterated the "continued commitment to providing extended deterrence", the statement said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper was arriving in Seoul later on Thursday, ahead of a meeting with South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo for the annual Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) on Friday.

Esper said on Wednesday he was open to changes in U.S. military activity in South Korea if it helped diplomats trying to jump-start stalled talks with North Korea.

Kim Yong Chol, a senior North Korean official who led negotiations in the run-up to the Vietnam summit, said late on Thursday that he hoped Esper meant to completely halt the joint drills.

Kim Yong Chol, a senior North Korean official who led negotiations in the run-up to the Vietnam summit, said late on Thursday that Esper meant to completely halt the joint drills.

"I assess his comment reflected Trump's thinking and was part of the U.S. side's positive efforts to revive the momentum for talks," he said in a statement carried by KCNA.

"But if ... the hostile provocation against us is carried out, we won't help but responding with shocking punishment that the United States can't afford."

Pyongyang has decried the U.S.-South Korea exercises as hostile, even in the current reduced form. On Wednesday, it threatened to retaliate if the allies go ahead with scheduled drills in a rare statement from the State Affairs Commission, a top governing body chaired by leader Kim Jong Un.

Cheong Seong-chang, a senior fellow at South Korea's Sejong Institute think-tank, said the North's statement appeared to be aimed at justifying future North Korean military actions.

Milley has hinted at raising the troop cost-sharing and Japan issues, though the joint statement did not address them directly.

Trump's insistence Seoul take on a greater share of the cost of the 28,500-strong U.S. military presence as deterrence against North Korea has rattled South Korea. It could also set a precedent for upcoming U.S. negotiations on defense cost-sharing with other allies.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

8 Comments
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All Donny has are sanctions. Master negotiator my aching arse.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Un is playing Trump.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

All NK has are empty annoying threats. Kim, temper tantrums won’t get you sanction relief.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Trump hikes price tag for US forces in Korea almost 500% as Seoul questions alliance

https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/14/politics/trump-south-korea-troops-price-hike/index.html

In the US, congressional aides and Korea experts familiar with the talks say the President's $4.7 billion demand came out of thin air, sending State and Defense Department officials scrambling to justify the number

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All of a sudden, Kim is making demands and threatening a nuke test unless America meets his demands.

So we are now the junior partner in this fake negotiations, eh?

Wow! Freaking unbelievable! Thanks, Trump. 

“Everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office...There is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea.” June 13, 2018

”And then we fell in love, okay? No, really - he wrote me beautiful letters, and they're great letters.” September 29, 2018

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Less than a year remain till the US presidential elections and with China's trade dominance crushed Xi Jinpin is desperate to restore business as usual!

Would anyone think for a second that the puppet state of the DPRK is not ordered to assist and indeed die trying to humiliate the Trump presidency?

Expect much bigger missiles from the DPRK in 2020!

And if that mountain can still sustain it expect another undergound H bomb test!

Fail to comply with Beijing's order and the lights go out in Pyongyang, and a new dynasty to pick up the banner of the "glorous revolution of the people of the DPRK".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What a waste of time. Just another photo op for these two ugly boobs together.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The background for this political theater is of course that the situation can not be solved as long as the Peking leaders consider the Kim regime a political asset. So the posturing will go on.

But dont expect the fake media to explain this. To them, all that matters is "orange man bad".

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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