A senior North Korean diplomat said today Pyongyang would be willing to hold talks with the United States if the conditions are right. Choe Son-Hui, head of the foreign ministry’s North America bureau, told reporters at Beijing’s international airport that her country “will hold dialogue under right conditions” with President Donald Trump’s administration. She spoke as she was returning home from Oslo, where she met with US academics and former US officials including Thomas Pickering, former US envoy to the UN, and Robert Einhorn, the State Department’s former special adviser for nonproliferation and arms control, Seoul’s Yonhap news agency said.
The meeting took place amid a let-up in military tensions on the Korean peninsula after concerns over a fresh nuclear test by the North aimed to mark high-profile anniversaries in April failed to materialise. After threatening military action, Trump said earlier this month he would be “honoured” to meet the North’s leader Kim Jong-Un under the right conditions.
South Korea’s new president Moon Jae-In, who took office this week, favours engagement with Pyongyang to bring it to the negotiating table, unlike his conservative predecessors. He said after he was sworn on Wednesday that he would be willing to go to North Korea “in the right circumstances.” When asked whether Pyongyang is preparing to hold dialogue with the South’s new government, Choe replied: “We will see”.