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UN Says N. Koreans Agree on Importance of Avoiding War

UN Says N. Koreans Agree on Importance of Avoiding WarUN Says N. Koreans Agree on Importance of Avoiding War

UN political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman said on Tuesday that senior North Korean officials told him it was important to prevent war but they did not commit to talks.

Feltmen met with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho and Vice Minister Pak Myong Guk during a four-day visit to Pyongyang. It was the highest level UN visit to North Korea since 2011, DW reported.

“Time will tell what was the impact of our discussions, but I think we have left the door ajar and I fervently hope that the door to a negotiated solution will now be opened wide,” Feltmen said after a closed door briefing at the UN Security Council.

“They listened seriously to our arguments ... They did not offer any type of commitment to us at that point,” said Feltman. “They agreed it was important to prevent war... How we do that was the topic of 15-plus hours of discussions.”

The former US diplomat said the secretive state needed time to “digest and consider” and that he believed Ri would brief North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Feltman said he requested North Korea consider “talks about talks” and possibly open up “technical channels of communication, such as the military-to-military hotline, to reduce risks, to signal intentions, to prevent misunderstandings and manage any crisis.”

  Talks Without Preconditions

Meanwhile, secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, said Tuesday the US is ready to talk to North Korea “without preconditions” but remains determined to force it to abandon its nuclear arsenal, AFP reported.

China and Russia responded positively to Tillerson’s remarks, even after the White House appeared to put his proposal in question by saying that US President Donald Trump’s “views on North Korea have not changed.”

While White House press secretary Sarah Sanders did not spell out the president’s views, Trump in the past has chided his secretary of state for “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with Pyongyang.

In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China took note of Tillerson’s remarks and expressed hope that the United States and North Korea take “meaningful steps towards dialogue and contact.”

“We welcome all efforts that are conducive to easing tension and resolving differences through dialogue,” Lu said.

In Moscow, Kremlin spoksman Dmitry Peskov told journalists: “We can state that such constructive statements impress us far more than the confrontational rhetoric that we have heard up to now. Undoubtedly this can be welcomed.”

 

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