North Korea and the U.S. will resume working-level talks on Oct. 5, North Korea’s state news agency KCNA reported Tuesday, reviving the possibility that denuclearization talks have restarted after a failed February summit between both countries in Vietnam, reported The Wall Street Journal.
KCNA said both countries would have a preliminary meeting on Friday, followed by working-level talks on Saturday, citing a statement from Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui.
“The delegates of the DPRK side are ready to enter into the DPRK-U.S. working-level negotiations,” Choe said in the statement.
“It is my expectation that the working-level negotiations would accelerate the positive development of the DPRK-U.S. relations.”
Choe’s statement made no mention of an exact location or time for the planned weekend talks.
Denuclearization discussions between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, Supreme Leader of North Korea, failed to materialize any progress at a summit in Vietnam in February. Trump met with Kim in June at the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas; the meet and greet didn’t immediately revive talks between both countries until now.
For the last several months, North Korea conducted a series of short-range ballistic missile tests, while furiously commenting about U.S. and South Korean war drills.
North Korean Ambassador Kim Song told the U.N. General Assembly on Monday that it was up to the Trump administration whether negotiations “will become a window of opportunity or an occasion that will hasten the crisis.”
“The situation on the Korean Peninsula has not come out of the vicious cycle of increased tension, which is entirely attributable to the political and military provocations perpetrated by the U.S.,” the North Korean ambassador said.
Kim Song, Chair of North Korea’s delegation at UN: “The key to consolidating peace and stability and achieving development on the Korean peninsula is in the full implementation of the DPRK-U.S. Joint Statement agreed and adopted at the historic DPRK-U.S. summit meeting.” pic.twitter.com/3Ig3oybBCN
— The Hill (@thehill) October 1, 2019
Former U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton warned Monday that North Korea had no plans of denuclearizing.
“We welcome the agreement between North Korea and the United States to proceed with working-level negotiations on Oct. 5.” South Korea’s presidential Blue House said in a statement.
“Through this working-level negotiation, we hope that substantial progress will be made at an early date to achieve complete denuclearization and permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula.”
With talks set between North Korea and the U.S. on Saturday, Washington should show more flexibility towards North Korea, offering a step-by-step process, in which economic sanctions are lifted in return for incremental steps toward denuclearization.