US renews calls for talks with North Korea

US special representative for North Korea Sung Kim (right) watching his South Korean counterpart Noh Kyu-duk speaking to reporters outside the State Department in Washington on Oct 18, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A US envoy made a new appeal on Monday (Oct 18) for talks with North Korea, insisting the United States has no hostile intent following a spike in tensions.

US special representative for North Korea Sung Kim met his South Korean counterpart Noh Kyu-duk in Washington ahead of a three-way meeting on Tuesday with senior Japanese official Takehiro Funakoshi.

"We will seek diplomacy with the DPRK to make tangible progress that increases the security of the United States and our allies," Mr Kim said, referring to the North by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"We harbour no hostile intent towards the DPRK and we are hopeful to meeting with them without conditions," Mr Kim told reporters.

But he added that the allies had "a responsibility to implement UN Security Council resolutions", referring to sanctions that North Korea seeks to see lifted.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last week blamed the US for sanctions, dismissing Washington's assertions that it does not have hostile intentions.

North Korea in recent weeks has tested a long-range cruise missile, a train-launched weapon and what it said was a hypersonic warhead.

Mr Kim Jong Un met three times with former president Donald Trump, who boasted of stopping a war but failed to reach a comprehensive agreement on ending North Korea's nuclear programme.

US President Joe Biden has promised to keep seeking diplomacy, but with a more low-key approach looking for areas for progress.

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