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South Korea: US, North Korea should lower bar for discussions

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South Korea: US, North Korea should lower bar for discussions

South Korean President Moon Jae-In said on Monday the U.S. and North Korea should lower the bar for future discussions.

“Recently, North Korea has shown it is open to actively engaging the United States in talks and the United States is talking about the importance of dialogue,” Moon said, according to Reuters. 

“There is a need for the United States to lower the threshold for talks with North Korea and North Korea should show it is willing to denuclearize. It’s important the United States and North Korea sit down together quickly,” he continued. 

South Korea’s presidential office said on Sunday that North Korea has “ample intentions of holding talks with the United States,” according to The Associated Press.

North Korea reportedly invited South Korea to discussions in Pyongyang for the first time in than 10 years, earlier this month.

Vice President Pence’s office revealed earlier this month that Pence was scheduled to meet with North Korean officials during his stop in South Korea for the Winter Olympics, but the North Koreans canceled.

“North Korea dangled a meeting in hopes of the Vice President softening his message, which would have ceded the world stage for their propaganda during the Olympics,” Nick Ayers, the vice president’s chief of staff, said in a statement. 

The meeting was reportedly in the works for a couple weeks and was scheduled before Pence departed for his trip through Asia on Feb. 5. 

However, the Trump administration announced a new set of sanctions on Pyongyang last week.

“The Treasury Department will soon be taking new action to further cut off sources of revenue and fuel that the regime uses to fund its nuclear program and sustain its military by targeting 56 vessels, shipping companies and trade businesses that are assisting North Korea in evading sanctions,” President Trump said on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

The developments follow a year of intensified tensions on the Korean Peninsula over the North’s nuclear ambition and its nuclear weapons program.

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