South Korea and the United States have the same goal of denuclearizing North Korea, the State Department said Tuesday amid speculation the allies disagree on inter-Korean talks proposed by Seoul.
South Korea wants to hold military talks with the North on Friday to discuss ways to ease tensions on their shared border. It also wants to hold Red Cross talks on Aug. 1 to resume reunions of families separated since the 1950-53 Korean War.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Monday current conditions are "far away" from those needed to reopen inter-Korean dialogue. Seoul responded that it consulted the U.S. and other nations on the proposal in advance.
"I can't confirm any diplomatic conversations that took place on that matter," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said during a regular press briefing.
She recalled, however, the "terrific visit" by President Moon Jae-in last month and the ongoing "important" partnership between South Korea and the U.S.
"In terms of the proposal, I would have to refer you back to the government of the Republic of Korea," the spokeswoman said. "But overall, I would say we share the very same goal, and that is a denuclearized Korean Peninsula."
The allies are "very concerned" about North Korea's provocative behavior, including its July 4 launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, and remain committed to achieving denuclearization in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, she added.
South Korea's new liberal administration under Moon has stressed the need to reopen dialogue with the communist neighbor while also keeping sanctions in place. But U.S. President Donald Trump has mostly focused his efforts on pressuring North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions and urging China to do more to rein in its wayward ally.
If held, the inter-Korean talks would mark the first of their kind since December 2015. Pyongyang has yet to respond to the offer.(Yonhap)