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US-Korean seesaw

US-Korean seesaw
North Korea has cautioned that the United States "should not misjudge" its intention for dialogue with South Korea on Monday following President Donald Trump's comments last Saturday that Pyongyang had recently reached out about possible talks. Pyongyang's Foreign Affairs spokesperson accused the US of taking preposterous action by its insistence "that it will not have a dialogue unless the right condition is met and that it will keep watching if we have intentions to abandon nuclear weapons, missiles and so on." All this came hours before South Korean President Moon Jae-in was sending a high-level delegation on Monday to Pyongyang. The 10-member group has been told to focus on inter-Korean relations and upon establishing conditions for a US-North Korean dialogue on the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. The delegation was scheduled to fly on Monday afternoon and stay for a night. After returning to Seoul for a debriefing, the delegation is scheduled to travel to the United States to advise on the outcome of their visit to Pyongyang. On Saturday, Trump had said jovially that North Korea "called up a couple of days ago and said, 'We would like to talk.' And I said, 'So would we, but you have to de-nuke. You have to de-nuke.' So, let's see what happens. Let's see what happens." "The US attitude shown after we clarified our intention in resuming the DPRK-US dialogue compels us to only think that the US is not interested." North Korea snapped back, not surprisingly. Pyongyang's statement also said it "depends entirely on the attitude of the US" whether "a situation is developed in the vicious cycle of confrontation". After nearly a year of suspense following the testing of ICBMs by North Korea, talks were hoped for the world over. Now that the opportunity has come for Seoul to mediate, the chance ought not to be frittered away. Last month, it was revealed that the US Vice President Mike Pence was set to meet with North Korean officials, including Kim Jong-un's sister, during their visits to the Winter Olympics in South Korea. Trump had stopped the meet, with the caveat that the United States would not back off its stated demand that Pyongyang abandons its nuclear weapons. In late-February, South Korean President Moon Jae-in observed, understandably, that the US should ease its position on the preconditions for talks. "There is a need for the United States to lower the threshold for talks and North Korea should show its willingness to denuclearise," Moon said. North Korea on Sunday condemned the latest round of sanctions imposed by the United States, accusing it of trying to undermine an improvement in inter-Korean relations during the Winter Olympics.

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