The United States is ready to be flexible in negotiations with North Korea on dismantling the regime's nuclear weapons program, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations said Wednesday, urging Pyongyang to refrain from provocations.
Ambassador Kelly Craft made the remarks at a U.N. Security Council session as Pyongyang's year-end deadline for nuclear negotiations with Washington draws near.
Amid indications the North is preparing to launch a long-range missile, Craft warned that such activity will only complicate efforts to reach an agreement that addresses Pyongyang's economic and security needs.
"We remain ready to take actions in parallel, and to simultaneously take concrete steps toward this agreement," Craft told the Council in New York, in live online footage.
"We are prepared to be flexible ... and we recognize the need for a balanced agreement that addresses the concerns of all the parties," she continued. "But we cannot do this alone. North Korea must make this difficult but bold decision to work with us."
Speaking to reporters before the meeting, she said North Korea "must do its part, and it must avoid provocations."
North Korea has strongly suggested it will return to testing nuclear bombs and intercontinental ballistic missiles if the U.S. fails to offer concessions in their stalled negotiations by the end of the year.
Reinforcing the concerns, North Korea on Saturday conducted what it called a "very important test" at its western satellite launch site. South Korea has said it involved a rocket engine.
"We hope that we do not find ourselves at an inflection point in the near future," Craft said. "We trust (North Korea) will turn away from further hostility and threats, and instead, make a bold decision to engage with all of us."
She warned, however, that if events prove otherwise, the Council must be prepared to "act accordingly." (Yonhap)