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US says NK must stop provocations, return to nuclear talks

US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell (AFP-Yonhap)
US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell (AFP-Yonhap)

WASHINGTON -- The United States has emphasized the need for North Korea to halt provocations and return to denuclearization talks, the State Department said Wednesday.

The issue of North Korea's nuclear weapons program was discussed during Tuesday's 33rd US-ASEAN Dialogue, co-chaired by US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell and Laotian Deputy Foreign Minister Thongphane Savanphet, the department said in a press release.

"The United States ... stressed that the DPRK must halt provocations, abide by its obligations under the UNSCRs, and engage in sustained negotiations with the United States to achieve complete denuclearization, and urged ASEAN countries to continue implementing and enforcing UN sanctions," it said, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

North Korea is banned under UN Security Council resolutions from testing nuclear and ballistic missile technology. ASEAN stands for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Stilwell made similar comments in virtual meetings involving the 10-member bloc last month.

On July 21, he highlighted the US commitment to achieving the "final, fully verified denuclearization" of North Korea, according to an earlier press release.

On July 20, he said the North must abide by UN Security Council resolutions and return to diplomatic engagement.

Denuclearization talks between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled following the no-deal summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in February 2019.

The two sides remain apart on how to match the North's denuclearization steps with US concessions, including sanctions relief. (Yonhap)
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