White House says comments by North Korea's Kim Jong Un are 'interesting signal'

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had commented that he is ready for "dialogue and confrontation".
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had commented that he is ready for "dialogue and confrontation".PHOTO: AFP PHOTO/KCNA VIA KNS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The United States said on Sunday (June 20) that it saw North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's comments as an "interesting signal" that he is ready for "dialogue and confrontation". 

However, Washington was still waiting for direct communication from Pyongyang to start any talks relating to denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

In his first direct comments on US President Joe Biden's administration, Mr Kim urged preparation for both dialogue and confrontation with the US, particularly the latter, state news agency KCNA said last Friday.

Speaking in an interview with ABC News, US National Security adviser Jake Sullivan said Washington would still need a direct and clear response from Pyongyang expressing its willingness for talks.

"His comments this week we regard as an interesting signal and we will wait to see whether they are followed up with any kind of more direct communication to us about a potential path forward," Mr Sullivan said. "The clear signal they could send is to say 'yes, let's do it. Let's sit down and begin negotiations.'"

Mr Kim's remarks came two days before the newly appointed US envoy for North Korea, Mr Sung Kim, was set to arrive in South Korea on his first visit since taking up the role last month.

He will hold talks with South Korean and Japanese counterparts and meet other Seoul officials during his stay until Wednesday, the State Department said last Thursday.

North Korea lashed out at the US and its ally, South Korea, last month, saying Washington's comments on its North Korean policy were proof of a hostile approach that required a corresponding response from Pyongyang.