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The government of North Korea is willing to enter into talks with the United States, the South Korean government reported on Sunday.
The announcement was made after South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with North Korean General Kim Yong-chol, before the closing ceremony of the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games.
The US Department of State He responded by saying that nuclear disarmament should be the ultimate goal of “any dialogue”.
“We will see if the message from Pyongyang, which is willing to hold talks, represents the first step,” he said in a statement.
Pyongyang did not confirm the offer, but on repeated occasions said it is willing to talk without preconditions.
The daughter of US President Donald Trump, Ivanka also attended the closing ceremony, but she is not expected to speak with any member of the North Korean government, even though she sat very close to General Kim at the Stadium. Olympic.
US Vice President Mike Pence had already met at the opening ceremony with Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
But Pence took the opportunity to send a harsh message to North Korea , remaining seated during the performance of his national anthem.
USA He also claims that the North Koreans canceled a meeting with the US vice president.
And on Friday, Washington announced a new package of sanctions against Pyongyang.
“If these sanctions do not work we will have to go to the second phase, and phase two can be very hard, it can be very, very unfortunate for the world,” warned President Trump when he announced them.
The Olympic Games of PyeongChang facilitated a rapprochement between North Korea and South Korea, which has been seen by some as a move by the North Koreans to try to sow discord between Seoul and Washington.
And the announcement came hours after the publication of a furious Northern communique, which qualifies the new US sanctions. as “an act of war”.
North Korea’s foreign minister praised the cooperation of the two Koreas during the Olympics.
But he also said that the US he had “taken the threat of war to the peninsula” with the new sanctions , just when the games were about to end.
But according to President Moon’s office, during his meeting with General Kim, he told him that Pyongyang was “very willing” to have talks with the United States.
He also added that the North had “agreed that talks between the Koreas and Northern relations with the US had to improve together.”
Pyongyang has said on numerous occasions that it is willing to dialogue without preconditions, but the US insists that North Korea first has to take concrete steps towards denuclearization.
The Korean peninsula has been divided since the war that took place from 1950 to 1953 and the two countries have never signed a peace agreement.
And General Kim’s presence in South Korea sparked protests, accusing him of ordering the attacks on the South Korean military frigate Cheonan and Yeonpyeong Island in 2010.