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N. Korea has long way to go before talks with U.S.: State Department

2017/08/04 06:21

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By Lee Haye-ah

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 (Yonhap) -- The United States will not hold talks with North Korea unless the communist nation demonstrates a willingness to abandon its nuclear and missile programs, the State Department said Thursday, dismissing suggestions otherwise as "misreporting."

   Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made comments earlier this week that spawned reports that Washington may be willing to resume dialogue with Pyongyang to defuse tensions caused by its intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month.

Heather Nauert, department spokeswoman, made clear that the U.S. has no intention to do so yet.

"I've seen a lot of misreporting in the news about some of the secretary's comments and what we will or would not be willing to do," she said during a regular press briefing. "They need to take steps to show us -- show the United States and the world, for that matter -- that they are serious about their attempts to denuclearize. We have not seen that."

   Tillerson told reporters Tuesday that the U.S. would like to sit down with the North to give them security and economic prosperity. But he also said a condition of those talks is "there is no future" where North Korea holds nuclear weapons.

"North Korea has a long way to go. They know what they need to do. We've been clear on our expectations of that government," Nauert said.

The spokeswoman also cited success in Washington's efforts to stop foreign money from flowing into Pyongyang's nuclear program.

In some cases, countries have prevented North Korea from opening diplomatic missions, while others have sent North Korean workers back, Nauert said. But she declined to name those countries for security reasons.

"We want to keep giving other countries the flexibility to be able to work with us in stalling these types of programs," she said.

hague@yna.co.kr

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