U.S. says it remains ready for talks with N. Korea

WASHINGTON-- The U.S. State Department said Thursday it remains ready for talks with North Korea, but stopped short of directly addressing the regime's calls for a new counterproposal.

The comments come after a senior official at North Korea's foreign ministry warned that the U.S. has until the end of the year to come up with a "proper counterproposal" for their negotiations on dismantling Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.

Talks have stalled since the second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam in February ended without a deal due to gaps over the scope of North Korea's denuclearization and sanctions relief from the U.S.

"The United States remains ready to engage in constructive discussions with North Korea to make progress simultaneously and in parallel towards the goal the two leaders set out at the Singapore summit of transformed U.S.-North Korea relations, building lasting peace, and complete denuclearization," a department spokesperson said in response to a Yonhap query.

"We continue to invite our counterparts for negotiations."

The first summit in Singapore last June yielded an agreement to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for U.S. security guarantees.

The latest North Korean statement comes as Trump is set to travel to South Korea this weekend for talks with President Moon Jae-in.

Moon said this week that the U.S. and North Korea are engaged in back-channel talks over a third summit, but the senior North Korean official denied such discussions were taking place.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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