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(LEAD) U.S. nuclear envoy hopes N. Korea not to start provocations

2017/11/14 17:55

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(ATTN: CHANGES dateline; UPDATES throughout with his remarks at airport)

INCHEON, Nov. 14 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. top nuclear envoy on Tuesday hoped North Korea "stays that way" of not carrying out provocations in order to create an environment for possible negotiations with Pyongyang on its missile and nuclear programs.

Joseph Yun, U.S. special representative for North Korea policy, made the remarks in response to a question that the past two months of no major provocations by the North could be seen as a good signal.

"We don't know because they have not communicated with us that they will stop doing that. I don't know why," Yun told reporters after arriving at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, to embark on his four-day stay in South Korea. "(But) I hope it stays that way."

   Asked if there are any additional signals or actions from North Korea necessary to consider direct talks with the North, he called on Pyongyang to stop its missile and nuclear tests, which he thinks would be a "good start."

   "I think Secretary Tillerson made it clear that a good start for them to stop nuclear and missile tests for a period of time. That will be a good start," he said.

Yun will stay in South Korea until Friday during which he is scheduled to attend two conferences and meet with his South Korean counterpart Lee Do-hoon to discuss a coordinated approach towards the North.

His visit comes amid a two-month lull in North Korea provocations, which is raising expectations the U.S. might pursue talks with Pyongyang.

Earlier, Yun reportedly said at a meeting that if North Korea halted nuclear and missile testing for about 60 days, that would be the signal Washington needs to resume direct dialogue with Pyongyang. The North has not conducted provocations since Sept. 15.

kokobj@yna.co.kr

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