U.S., North Korea nuclear talks are top priority, Seoul says

Sept. 10 (UPI) — South Korea’s national security council says it will be focusing on diplomacy that could make it more feasible for the United States and North Korea to resume denuclearization talks.

The standing committee of the NSC at the presidential Blue House said Wednesday it is “paying attention” to a recent statement from Pyongyang regarding the possibility of restarting dialogue with Washington, Newsis reported.

North Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said Monday the Kim Jong Un regime is willing to resume nuclear diplomacy but Washington must present acceptable proposals. Choe had also said the talks could take place in late September.

On Wednesday, Seoul’s NSC said it would “make diplomatic efforts for the early completion of the goal of full denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

The council also warned North Korea against tests during an emergency session following the firing of short-range projectiles on Tuesday.

The group “expressed strong concern North Korea is continuing the launch of short-range projectiles since May,” according to Yonhap.

On Wednesday, Pyongyang claimed the test of its “super-large multiple rocket launcher” was a success, but analysts say one of the projectiles may have failed to reach its target, the Korea Herald reported.

Images of the Tuesday firings show a four-tube launcher with three of its caps open, indicating possible plans to test-fire three projectiles. Previous launches on Aug. 24 show only two caps open when two projectiles were fired. KCNA has only reported two rounds of tests.

It is unclear whether the third projectile was fired and missed its target, or the third launch never took place due to a possible malfunction, according to the report.

The launches and Choe’s remarks are a way to warn the United States, South Korean analyst Hong Min said this week.

Hong has said North Korea wants talks on its terms, and to avoid the outcome of the Hanoi Summit in February.

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