Pyongyang rules out talks with US ahead of envoy’s arrival in Seoul

Seoul, Jul 7 (efe-epa).- North Korea on Tuesday reiterated that it would not talk with Washington, hours before the United States Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun was due to land in Seoul, where he will spend three days analyzing the current situation in the Korean Peninsula.

These remarks by Kwon Jong-gun, director general for US affairs at Pyongyang’s foreign ministry in a statement published by state news agency KCNA, came three days after First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui said that North Korea felt no need to resume denuclearization talks with the US.

Choe had also accused Washington of using bilateral dialog between the two countries “as a tool for grappling its political crisis.”

“Explicitly speaking once again, we have no intention to sit face-to-face with US,” Kwon said in the statement published Tuesday.

His remarks came hours before Biegun, who is also the US special envoy for North Korea, is due to arrive at the Osan Air Base, south of Seoul.

During his visit, Biegun is scheduled to meet South Korea’s chief nuclear negotiator Lee do-hoon and Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha to discuss the situation in the region after Pyongyang recently cut all communication with Seoul and blew up the inter-Korean liaison office on its territory.

Biegun may also meet with the newly appointed national security advisor and former head of South Korea’s main intelligence service, Suh Hoon.

Pyongyang’s rejection of talks seems to be in response to South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s recent announcement that he would try to get North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump to meet again before the presidential elections in the US on Nov. 3.

North Korea toughened its stance against the South in early June when it accused Seoul of allowing activists to send balloons with anti-regime propaganda across the border.

The Pyongyang regime’s decision to cut ties and destroy the inter-Korean liaison office marked the lowest point in bilateral relations in the past two years.

Analysts believe that the regime has made the propaganda balloons an excuse to harden a strategy of pressure, which originated in the failed denuclearization summit between Pyongyang and Washington in Hanoi in February 2019, when the US considered the North Korean disarmament plan insufficient and refused to lift sanctions. EFE-EPA


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