USA not ruling out direct talks with Pyongang

Frederick Owens
October 19, 2017

But Washington insists its keeping lines open with Pyongyang.

Trump will "call on the worldwide community to join together in maximizing pressure on North Korea", the White House said in a statement, and will meet family members of Japanese citizens who have been abducted by North Korea.

Shinsuke Sugiyama, Japan's vice minister for foreign affairs, and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan were joined by Lim Sung-nam, South Korea's first vice minister of foreign affairs, in the first talks among high-level officials of the three countries since January in the U.S.

On Wednesday, Lim said the allies agree that the situation surrounding the Korean Peninsula should be "managed stably".

"Our objective is, throughout that campaign of pressure, to bring North Korea to the negotiating table without preconditions so that we can achieve our objective of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula", he said.

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Sugiyama, briefing reporters separately, reiterated Japan's support for President Donald Trump's policy of keeping all options open, but stressed the need for a diplomatic solution by bolstering cooperation among Japan, U.S. and South Korea, as well as via cooperation with China and Russian Federation.

The talks come as the US and South Korea hold joint naval drills this week. The allies regularly conduct joint exercises that North Korea condemns as invasion rehearsals. The regime has continued its nuclear missile program in defiance to the US and the United Nations.

The Seoul meeting was set to take place following threatening comments made by North Korean Deputy U.N. Ambassador Kim In Ryong, who warned Monday that a "nuclear war may break out any moment".

Trump showed strong interest in the abduction issue in his speech at the U.N. General Assembly last month. He said the North has the right to possess nuclear weapons in self-defense.

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