North Korea shoots down US offer for talks without preconditions

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HANDOUT - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un watches a missile launch from a site near the North's eastern coastal town of Wonsan. Two missiles tested by North Korea on Thursday were a
HANDOUT - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un watches a missile launch from a site near the North's eastern coastal town of Wonsan. Two missiles tested by North Korea on Thursday were a "new-type [of] tactical guided weapon" and their launch was meant to send a "solemn warning" to Seoul, the country's state-run news agency KCNA has reported. Photo: -/KCNA/dpa - ATTENTION: editorial use only and only if the credit mentioned above is referenced in full

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Son Gwon has rejected an offer by the United States to hold negotiations without any preconditions about the secretive state’s nuclear weapons programme.

“We are not considering even the possibility of any contact with the US, let alone having it, which would get us nowhere,” he said in a statement on Wednesday night. Such talks would only take up “precious time,” the foreign minister was cited as saying by the state-run agency KCNA.

Kim Yo Jong, the influential sister of North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un, on Tuesday accused the US of having false expectations after its special envoy to North Korea had again held out the possibility of talks without preconditions during a visit to Seoul on Monday.

Talks between Washington and Pyongyang have not made progress since a failed summit in Vietnam in 2019 between then-president of the US, Donald Trump, and Kim Jong Un. Since US President Joe Biden took office, North Korea has appeared to adopt a wait-and-see approach.

Kim said last week his isolated country must be “prepared for both dialogue and confrontation” with the United States.

North Korea has made it clear several times since 2019 that it is not interested in new talks unless Washington submits new proposals.

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