US envoy says no hostile intent towards North Korea

TOKYO • The US has no hostile intent towards North Korea and hopes it responds positively to offers for talks on its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, an American envoy said yesterday as he met Asian allies.

The meeting between top officials of the US, Japan and South Korea on ways to end a stand-off with North Korea over its nuclear ambitions came a day after Pyongyang said it had tested a new long-range cruise missile.

"The United States has no hostile intent towards the DPRK," said US envoy for North Korea Sung Kim, at the Tokyo talks, referring to North Korea by its official name - the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"We hope the DPRK will respond positively to our multiple offers to meet without preconditions."

North Korea has conducted six nuclear tests and developed intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the US, raising fears of military confrontation and drawing international sanctions.

Former US president Donald Trump met North Korea leader Kim Jong Un three times but without progress on Washington's demand that Pyongyang gives up its nuclear and missile programmes in exchange for sanctions relief.

President Joe Biden's administration has said it would explore diplomacy to achieve the goal of the complete denuclearisation of North Korea but would not seek a grand bargain with Mr Kim.

North Korea has said it sees no sign of policy changes from the US, citing issues such as sanctions as well as joint US-South Korean military exercises which it says are preparations for war against it.

In what is widely seen in the region as a show of defiance, North Korea's state media announced on Monday successful tests of a new long-range cruise missile that analysts said could be its first such weapon with nuclear capabilities.

US envoy Mr Kim did not refer explicitly to the missile test in his public remarks. He later said he and his Japanese counterpart Takehiro Funakoshi, and South Korea's Noh Kyu-duk had a "terrific discussion". Mr Kim added: "All three countries agreed that we should continue to pursue a diplomatic path... but the main goal being complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula."

South Korea's foreign ministry said the three envoys had agreed that "dialogue and diplomacy was urgent to accomplish the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula".

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 15, 2021, with the headline 'US envoy says no hostile intent towards North Korea'. Subscribe