Beijing, China. The top North Korean diplomat sent to Norway for back channel talks says that Pyongyang would be willing to meet with the Trump administration for negotiations “if the conditions are set” that make sense.
This came from Choe Son Hui. Director general for North American Affairs at the North Korean Foreign Ministry, spoke briefly to reporters in Beijing Saturday en route to Pyongyang. She was traveling from Norway, where she led a delegation that held an informal meeting with American officials and scholars.
The official did not elaborate on what the North’s conditions are, but her comments raise the possibility of North Korea and the Americans returning to negotiations for the first time since 2008, when multi-nation talks over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program originally fell apart.
North Korea recently has arrested two American university instructors and laid out what it claimed to be a CIA-backed plot to assassinate Kim. Choe did not address the matter of the detained Americans on Saturday.
US President Donald Trump opened the door this month to talks, saying he would be “honored” to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Experts look forward to hearing more about what Kim Jong-Un thinks about such a meeting.
US-North Korean tensions have mounted in recent months after the Trump administration said it would keep all options on the table to halt their nuclear weapons program, including a military strike. The North responded by pledging to retaliate with a devastating nuclear counterattack.
The purpose of the trip to Norway, was for what are known as “track 2” talks. The talks, which cover a range of nuclear, security and bilateral issues, are held intermittently, and are an informal opportunity for the two sides to exchange opinions and concerns in a non-confrontational environment.