The proposal for talks about the North’s nuclear program came as US Secretary of State John Kerry wrapped up his tour in Asia on Sunday. Kerry stated that the country will find “ready partners” in the United States if it follows through with the offer.
While he did offer talks, Kerry also warned that North Korea must first lower tensions between it and the rest of the world. It would also have to honor previous agreements.
Both Kerry and Japanese foreign minister Fumio Kishida agreed that a nuclear-free North Korea should be the goal. Kishida joined Kerry at the news conference and was more direct with his requirements for the nuclear talks with the North.
He stated that the country would need to honor its agreement to earlier deals involving its nuclear and missile programs as well as on returning kidnapped foreigners.
The offers from the US and Japan for nuclear talks came on the same day as North Korea rejected South Korea’s proposal for talks to deescalate tensions between the two Asian countries.
Tensions have been high between the two countries since the end of March when Pyongyang threatened to attack Seoul and Washington, D.C., over joint military drills as well as supporting UN sanctions imposed on the North after a nuclear test in February.
While they believe the threats are rhetoric, officials from the US and South Korea believe that North Korea could test-fire a midrange missile designed to reach Guam, a US territory.
North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea responded to the South’s offer by saying they would not talk unless Seoul sheds its confrontational posture. The news was disappointing to the South as well as several other countries around the world.
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