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(LEAD) U.S. nat'l security adviser calls on N. Korea to stop provocations, return to dialogue

04:28 July 01, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with more remarks, background from 3rd para)
By Lee Haye-ah

WASHINGTON, June 30 (Yonhap) -- U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien on Tuesday called on North Korea to refrain from provocations and return to dialogue.

O'Brien's comment comes after North Korea blew up an inter-Korean liaison office in anger over anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets sent by defectors but then suspended plans to take military action against South Korea.

He said the United States wants to see North Korea achieve a "bright economic future" under leader Kim Jong-un, and that President Donald Trump remains committed to "enduring peace" on the Korean Peninsula.

"Tangible progress has been slow," O'Brien said during a virtual seminar hosted by the Center for the National Interest, apparently referring to the denuclearization negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang.

"But the door to dialogue and progress remains open," he said.

This AP photo shows U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien speaking during a news conference in Phoenix, Arizona on June 24, 2020. (Yonhap)

Trump and Kim have met three times since June 2018 to try to reach a deal on dismantling North Korea's nuclear weapons program in exchange for U.S. concessions.

At the first summit in Singapore, the leaders agreed to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, better bilateral relations and a lasting peace regime. But implementation has stalled amid differences over the scope of North Korea's denuclearization and sanctions relief from the U.S.

"We are committed to engagement, and to achieving the goals set forth at the Singapore summit," O'Brien said.

"We continue to call on North Korea to avoid provocations, abide by obligations under U.N. Security Council resolutions and return to sustained and substantive negotiations," he added, referring to U.N. bans on North Korea's testing of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technology.

O'Brien's call for dialogue is in line with Washington's position that the door to diplomacy remains open.

On Monday, Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, the lead U.S. negotiator on North Korea's nuclear program, said there is still time for the two sides to make "substantial progress" in the direction both sides want to go in.

On the possibility of another summit between Trump and Kim, he said it's "probably unlikely" before the November presidential election in the U.S., citing COVID-19 as a reason.

hague@yna.co.kr
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