South Korea is ready for a dialogue with North Korea if the latter is sincere about its willingness to discard its nuclear program, Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck said Thursday.

He commented on the Wednesday joint statement issued by key members of US President Donald Trump administration, which pointed out Trump’s desire to denuclearize North Korea by means of enhanced economic sanctions and diplomatic measures.

“The stance of South Korea and the US toward dialogue is consistent. That is the door for dialogue is open if the North comes to take the path toward denuclearization with sincerity. Therefore we urge the North to learn quickly that the only choice it has is to denuclearize and come to the path of genuine transformation,” Cho told a press briefing.

Tensions surrounding North Korea’s activities with both nuclear and ballistic missiles have escalated in recent months after Pyongyang conducted a number of nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
The most recent missile launch by Pyongyang reportedly took place early on April 16 but, according to South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, it ultimately failed.

In response to the growing tensions in the region, the United States sent a naval group led by US aircraft carrier Carl Vinson to the Korean Peninsula. On April 14, US media reported that Trump might order a strike against North Korea if Pyongyang decided to carry out another nuclear weapons test.

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