A North Korean foreign ministry spokesman was quoted by official new agency KCNA as saying “we will neither beg for dialogue nor evade the military option claimed by the U.S.” North Korea also denounced upcoming U.S.-South Korean joint-military exercises, warning that it would take countermeasures against the United States if they went ahead.
On Monday, South Korea will dispatch a delegation led by senior security officials for a two-day visit to the North. South Korea’s presidential Blue House said in a statement that National Security Office (NSO) head Chung Eui-yong and National Intelligence Service (NIS) chief Suh Hoon, a veteran of past negotiations with the North, will be among the 10-member South Korean delegation visiting Pyongyang.
The US-ROK joint military exercises are scheduled to take place next month after having been delayed until after the Winter Olympics. After their trip to Pyongyang, the South Korean envoys are to travel on to the United States to brief officials on the outcome of the 2-day junket and said they will also be closely coordinating with China and Japan on any progress made.
According to White House officials, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was scheduled to meet with North Korean officials, including leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, while in South Korea for the Winter Olympics but the North Koreans canceled at the last minute.
The White House has said any talks with North Korea must lead to an end of its nuclear program. On Feb. 23, the U.S. announced it was imposing its largest package of sanctions ever to pressure North Korea to help achieve that goal.
At the time, Trump also warned of a “phase two” that could be “very, very unfortunate for the world” if the steps did not work.
The Kim regime reiterated on Saturday that it was willing to talk to the United States but that it would never sit down to the table with any precondition. Clearly Dennis Rodman will NOT be serving as the US envoy should talks indeed resume.
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