North Korea to US: Ready for ‘Dialogue or Confrontation’

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North Korea warned the United States Friday it is “ready for dialogue or confrontation,” stressing it can be “America’s biggest threat” for a long time to come.

In a message on the Korean Central News Agency, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho also said it would be a “miscalculation” if Washington imposed more sanctions on Pyongyang.

It is the latest indication North Korea may not resume talks soon, despite Pyongyang hinting it would return to dialogue following the latest round of U.S.-South Korean military drills, which ended this week.

Promise in a letter

U.S. President Donald Trump says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promised him in a personal letter to stop missile launches and start negotiations as soon as the joint exercises ended.

The exercises ended Tuesday. But instead of resuming talks, North Korea has complained the drills happened at all. It has also expressed displeasure with South Korea’s recent acquisition of U.S. fighter jets.

“Dialogue accompanied by military threats is of no interest to us,” North Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement Wednesday.

Stephen Biegun, the top U.S. envoy for North Korea, confirmed Tuesday that he had not heard from North Korean officials.

“Regarding restart of those negotiations, we are prepared to engage as soon as we hear from our counterparts in North Korea,” Biegun said on a visit to Seoul.

Deadline to be more flexible

North Korea has given the U.S. an end of year deadline to become more flexible in the nuclear talks. Pyongyang wants Washington to provide sanctions relief and security guarantees. The Trump administration has said it is not willing to provide sanctions relief until Kim agrees to give up his entire nuclear weapons program.

North Korea has conducted eight missile launches since early May, an outpouring of anger over what it considers the U.S. and South Korea’s hostile policies.

Trump, who wants to continue the talks, says he has “no problem” with the launches, noting they cannot reach the United States.

Critics say that approach virtually ensures Kim will continue launching short-range missiles, which can reach all of South Korea.

North Korea is prohibited from any ballistic missile activity by United Nations Security Council resolutions.

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