North Korea says no need to sit down with US for talks

The statues of late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang on April 15, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (REUTERS) - North Korea does not feel the need to have talks with the United States, which would be nothing more than "a political tool" for Washington, a senior North Korean diplomat said on Saturday (July 4), ahead of a US envoy's visit to South Korea.

Vice-Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said negotiations would not work out between Washington and Pyongyang and there will be no change in North Korea's policy.

"We do not feel any need to sit face to face with the US as it does not consider the DPRK-US dialogue as nothing more than a tool for grappling its political crisis," Mr Choe said in a statement carried by state-run KCNA news agency.

DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's formal name.

US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun is due to visit South Korea next week to discuss stalled talks with North Korea.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Wednesday that US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un should meet again before the US elections in November, which would help resume the stalled nuclear negotiations.

Mr Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton told reporters in New York on Thursday that the president might seek another summit with Mr Kim as an "October Surprise" ahead of the election.

Mr Trump and Mr Kim met for the first time in 2018 in Singapore.

They met again in Vietnam in 2019, but the talks fell apart when Mr Trump said Mr Kim had failed to offer enough nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles in exchange for lifting international sanctions.

At their third meeting, in June 2019 at the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, the two agreed to restart negotiations. Working-level talks between the two sides in Sweden in October were broken off.

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