North Korea could renew relations with the United States if US troops leave South Korea and Washington secures a peace treaty ending war on the peninsula.
But for now, North Korea will pursue its policy of “simultaneous development” of both its nuclear program and the economy, Reuters reports, citing So Se Pyong, North Korea’s Ambassador to the United Nations.
So spoke in an interview at North Korea’s diplomatic mission in Geneva in the wake of the election of Donald Trump as the next US president.
North Korean officials began “unofficial and informal discussions” with US academics and former US officials in the Swiss city.
Choe Son Hui, North Korea’s negotiator for the stalled talks on its nuclear program, leads the four-person team.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, rattled by Trump’s campaign rhetoric that cast doubt on longstanding US alliances, meets Trump on Thursday in New York for hastily arranged talks.
North Korea has carried out repeated nuclear and missile tests in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions and sanctions.
Trump told Reuters in an interview in May he was willing to talk to Kim Jong Un to try to stop Pyongyang’s nuclear program — a major shift in US policy toward the isolated nation — but has also called for China to do more to rein in its ally.
So, asked about North Korea’s views on resuming dialogue after Trump’s remarks, replied: “The meeting is up to the decision of my Supreme Leader.”
“If he [Trump] really gives up the hostile policy towards North Korea, withdrawing all the military equipment from South Korea, including the US troops and coming to conclude the peace treaty, then I think it might be an opportunity to discuss the relations as we did in the 1990s.”
There are about 28,500 US troops in South Korea helping to defend the country against nuclear-armed North Korea, which has remained in a technical state of war with the South since the 1950-53 Korean conflict.
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