State Department Would ‘Like to Be Able to Sit Down and Talk’ with North Korea About Nukes

N. Korea Nukes AFP

The Department of State would like to include North Korea in ongoing efforts toward a “diplomatic solution” to force the hereditary Kim dictatorship to dismantle its small nuclear arsenal, spokeswoman Heather Nauert indicated Thursday.

“We are going ahead with the diplomatic solution. We are asking countries, our allies, our friends, our neighbors, you name it – anybody we’ll sit down and talk with, we are asking them to assist us,” Nauert said at Thursday’s State Department press briefing.

Nauert did not, however, step away from her department’s commitment to what she called the “whole-of-government approach,” which she explained as follows:

You heard Secretary [of Defense James] Mattis talking about the military piece of it. You’ve heard Secretary Mnuchin talk about the Treasury portion of it. We have Ambassador Haley who’s talking about the UN Security Council portion of it. So we’re all working in concert together.

Mattis has made it clear that “any threats to the United States or its territories including Guam or our allies will be met with a massive military response” in his own comments Sunday.

Showing a willingness to include the North Koreans themselves, but downplaying the likelihood of such an occurrence given the regime’s history of instrasigence, Nauert told reporters:

[W]e would always like to be able to sit down and talk, but North Korea is showing the world that it is not serious and it is nowhere near the point where it wants to talk. What they did over the weekend and what they’ve done recently is a tremendous security concern to the world. When they’re willing to show us that they are serious about sitting down and having conversations, we will know it. We think we will be watching for the signals, and we’ll just go from there.

This is hardly the first expression by American diplomats of a willingness to talk to Pyongyang. President Donald Trump, for example, took flak from interventionist politicians for expressing such a willingness on the campaign trail.

Negotiations about the nuclear armed North Korea among great powers in northeast Asia and at the United Nations have taken on a new tension following a test by the Kim regime last month that saw a potentially nuclear-capable ballistic missile enter Japanese airspace. In yet another twist, North Korean government’s propaganda aparatus followed up an alleged thermonuclear “H-Bomb” test with an explicit threat to carry out an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) attack against America and its allies.


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