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U.S. rules out nuclear talks with N. Korea

2017/10/03 04:44

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WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 (Yonhap) -- The White House said Monday that now is not the time for talks with North Korea, a day after President Donald Trump called the effort a waste of time.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Saturday that the U.S. maintains channels of communication with Pyongyang, raising hopes for a thaw in tensions over the regime's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

"We've been clear that now is not the time to talk," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said at a press briefing. "The only conversations that have taken place, or that would, would be on bringing back Americans who have been detained. Beyond that, there will be no conversations with North Korea at this time."

  

This EPA file photo shows White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders. (Yonhap) This EPA file photo shows White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders. (Yonhap)

Tillerson is "wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man," Trump tweeted Sunday, using his nickname for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

"Save your energy Rex, we'll do what has to be done!" he said.

Trump earlier threatened to "totally destroy" North Korea if necessary. Pyongyang responded with threats to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean and shoot down U.S. bombers even in international air space.

The regime recently conducted its sixth nuclear test and launched a series of ballistic missiles, accelerating its pursuit of a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.

Three Americans are currently detained in the North, all of them Korean-Americans.

Two, Kim Hak-song and Kim Sang-dok, were detained earlier this year, while the third, Kim Dong-chul, was arrested in October 2015 and sentenced to 10 years of hard labor on charges of espionage and subversion.

hague@yna.co.kr

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