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North Korea, Seeking ‘Equal Footing,’ Rejects Preconditions for U.S. Talks

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The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un delivering an address in January. The North on Saturday reiterated its insistence that there be no preconditions for talks with the United States.Credit Lee Jin-Man/Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said Saturday that it would be willing to begin a dialogue with the United States on “issues of mutual concern” but that it would not accept any preconditions for starting such talks.

The statement came days after President Trump said on Monday that his administration could enter talks with North Korea, but “only under the right conditions.” That meant North Korea must first commit to denuclearization, United States officials have said.

North Korea, however, on Saturday said that talks needed to be based on “an equal footing between states.”

North Korea, Seeking ‘Equal Footing,’ Rejects Preconditions for U.S. Talks
North Korea, Seeking ‘Equal Footing,’ Rejects Preconditions for U.S. Talks

“The dialogue we desire is the one designed to discuss and resolve the issues of mutual concern on an equal footing between states,” the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying. “There had been no case at all where we sat with the U.S. on any precondition, and this will be the case in the future, too.”

The remarks reflected North Korea’s longstanding insistence that it would engage Washington only if it is treated like an equal as a nuclear power. North Korea claimed to have a state nuclear force after conducting its sixth nuclear test and test-launching intercontinental ballistic missiles last year.

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