US says no deadline on nuke talks with N. Korea

TOKYO, Washington has no deadline on nuclear negotiations with Pyongyang, US top envoy for North Korea said Monday, offering to meet his counterparts from the North, Seoul’s Yonhap News Agency reported.

US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun also stressed that Washington will not give up, as Pyongyang has been threatening to take a “new way” if Washington does not make concessions before the North’s self-imposed year-end deadline, the report said.

Biegun arrived in Seoul for a three-day visit on Sunday amid heightened tensions due to the North’s apparent rocket engine tests that raised concerns that it could launch a long-range rocket if the deadline is not met.

“It’s been a long year and we have not made nearly as much progress as we would have hoped.

But we will not give up,” Biegun was quoted as telling reporters after meeting with his South Korean counterpart Lee Do-hoon.

“The US does not have a deadline. We have a goal to fulfill the commitments the two leaders made during their historic summit meeting in Singapore,” he added.

He was referring to the first-ever summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore in June last year.

At the summit, the leaders agreed to seek to build new bilateral relations, make joint efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the peninsula and work toward the complete denuclearization of the peninsula. Biegun also pointed out his team’s readiness to resume negotiations with the North, saying the US has offered to the North a number of creative ways to proceed with “feasible steps and flexibility” to reach “balanced” agreements.

The US official also warned against any provocations by the North, saying Such an action will be most unhelpful in achieving the lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula. On Dec. 7 and last Friday, the North conducted what appeared to be rocket engine tests at its coast satellite launch site, fueling concerns that it could fire off a long-range rocket.

The last working-level nuclear talks in Sweden yielded little progress, with the North accusing the US of having come to the negotiating table “empty-handed.” Since then, Pyongyang has toughened its demands, telling the US to remove “all obstacles” that threaten the security of the North and hamper its development.

Source: Kuwait News Agency