The United States looks forward to resuming talks with North Korea, the State Department said Tuesday, after Pyongyang warned that the prospect of talks would be affected if the U.S. goes ahead with a military exercise with South Korea.
The North's foreign ministry issued the warning Tuesday, arguing that the "19-2 Dong Maeng" exercise, slated for around August, runs counter to the commitment that U.S. President Donald Trump made when he held a surprise meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on June 30.
"We would hope that no one would try to block, in their government or our government, the ability for President Trump and Chairman Kim to make progress on the commitments they made to each other in Vietnam," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus told a briefing, according to news reports.
She was referring to February's second summit held in Hanoi between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. That meeting failed to produce an agreement, but Trump and Kim held a surprise meeting at the inter-Korean border on June 30 and agreed to resume working-level negotiations.
"We look forward, of course, to resuming those negotiations, and we hope to talk, always, so we can advance progress on these commitments," Ortagus said.
Right after the impromptu meeting with the North's leader, Trump said the working-level talks could be resumed in two to three weeks. According to diplomatic sources earlier this week, Washington has proposed to the North to hold a working-level meeting, but Pyongyang has yet to respond.
In response to the North's statement on the resumption of working-level talks with Washington, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Tuesday that her government and the U.S. expect the talks will resume at an early date. (Yonhap)