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U.S. offers to hold working-level nuclear talks with N. Korea this week

11:04 July 14, 2019

SEOUL, July 14 (Yonhap) -- The United States has proposed to North Korea that working-level officials of the two sides meet this week for denuclearization negotiations, diplomatic sources said Sunday.

The U.S. made the proposal through a diplomatic channel and is awaiting a response, they said.

The offer came after U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to resume working-level denuclearization negotiations when they held a surprise meeting at the inter-Korean border on June 30.

The nuclear talks have been stalled since February's no-deal summit between Trump and Kim.

After last month's impromptu meeting between Trump and Kim, U.S. officials said they expect the nuclear talks to resume in two to three weeks.

In Washington, Kim Hyun-chong, deputy chief of Cheong Wa Dae's National Security Office, also told reporters that the North has not responded to the dialogue offer yet.

"We will have to wait and see," he said when asked if the nuclear talks will resume this month.

The U.S. hopes to resume working-level negotiations by next week at the latest to lay the groundwork for high-level talks that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho could hold on the sidelines of a regional security forum set for early next month in Bangkok.

Sources said that the U.S. has not proposed any specific venue for working-level talks, leaving the decision up to the North. Possible venues include the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom, Pyongyang and Sweden.

Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Biegun will represent the U.S. in the working-level talks, while his North Korean counterpart is expected to be former North Korean Ambassador to Vietnam Kim Myong-gil.
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