United States urged to create 'right' conditions for talks with N Korea

Mar 03, 2018, 00:22
United States urged to create 'right' conditions for talks with N Korea

Joseph Yun, the man who has been working behind the scenes for the U.S. to keep "back channel" lines of communication open with North Korea, announced this week that he would retire, effective on Friday.

Joseph Yun, the chief US nuclear negotiator and proponent of dialogue with North Korea in the Trump administration, is resigning at the end of the week.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Twitter that Yun was leaving his position for personal reasons. But diplomatic sources said the move may reflect frustration over the Trump White House's perceived undercutting of the diplomatic efforts of the department. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson "has reluctantly accepted his decision and wished him well", Nauert said.

North Korea's ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament says his country will certainly respond if the United States ignores efforts to improve inter-Korean relations and chooses provocation and confrontation.

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His departure comes amid glimmers of hope for a diplomatic opening between Pyongyang and Washington.

On South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa's remark on "comfort women" in her speech at the council on Monday, Horii said that Japan and South Korea confirmed in their December 2015 accord that the two countries will mutually refrain from accusing or criticizing each other over the issue in the global community.

Last week, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the toughest sanctions ever put in place against North Korea, which involve the targeting of shipping and vessels that allow the regime to sustain itself economically.

Yun told CNN, "It was completely my decision to retire at this time".

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It was not immediately clear who would replace Yun or if the vacancy would be filled with a US official maintaining closer ties to Trump.

The North hasn't tested a nuclear device or ballistic missile for months.

The view comes amid increasing possibility of the U.S. and North Korea holding talks to ease the tensions in the Korean peninsula. "We must use the full arsenal of our tools to stop North Korea's nuclear ambitions and missile program in order to protect the national security of the United States". "He is joining a large exodus of senior State Department officials who will be hard to replace".

Trump on Monday reiterated his willingness to talk, but only under the right conditions. Trump warned last week that if sanctions fail, the USA would move to "phase two" in its pressure campaign, which could be "very rough" and "very unfortunate for the world".

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