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North Korea says it rebuffed US attempts at contact, talks

Kim Jong Un conducts construction inspections. (Korean Central News Agency/Released)

A top North Korean official said the U.S. has tried to contact it numerous times since mid-February but Pyongyang isn’t responding to what it views as another “delaying-time trick.”

The statement comes as Biden administration officials are set to have their first in-person discussions with top officials in Seoul as part of a journey to build a common approach with key Asian allies to security threats posed by the likes of North Korea and China.

“We have already declared our stand that no DPRK-U.S. contact and dialogue of any kind can be possible unless the U.S. rolls back its hostile policy towards the DPRK,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency on Thursday reported first vice minister of Foreign Affairs, Choe Son Hui, as saying.

North Korea, which is officially called the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, has for years invoked the “hostile policy” line to shun U.S. overtures for talks and show its anger at the American military presences in South Korea.

The statement comes just after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken criticized North Korea for massive human rights abuses during the start of his visit to Seoul where he is scheduled to meet President Moon Jae-in Thursday to talk about North Korea.

At the start of his trip this week in Tokyo, Blinken said that the administration has not received any response from Pyongyang despite reaching out through several channels starting in mid-February.

Choe was quoted by KCNA as saying the Biden administration recently sent emails and telephone messages “via various routes” imploring North Korea to respond to its request for resuming talks.

“It seems the U.S. has not yet dropped the habit of doggedly faulting the DPRK,” Choe is quoted as saying, referring to Blinken’s comments. “We make it clear that we won’t give it such opportunities as in Singapore and Hanoi again.

Biden’s administration is recalibrating U.S. policies toward Pyongyang amid no tangible denuclearization despite three summits between former President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.


© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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