Korea lambastes U.S. for attaching preconditions for talks

Japan's foreign minister to visit US this month to discuss N. Korea

In pursuit of lasting peace

In Pyongyang, "the special envoys will have comprehensive talks with the North on creating the environment for North Korean-United States dialogue for denuclearization, as well as on improving inter-Korean relations", said Mr. Yoon, the spokesman.

The US has said it would be willing to meet with North Korea but has always insisted that Pyongyang eventually abandon its nuclear weapons program as part of any talks.

President Donald Trump responded by saying talks will happen only "under the right conditions".

After the two-day visit to North Korea, the special envoys will travel to the United States to brief officials on their discussions in Pyongyang, South Korea's presidential Blue House said.

Senior North Korean officials, led by Kim's sister, visited South Korea during last month's Winter Olympics.

"I would not rule out direct talks with Kim Jong-un", Mr Trump said.

United States officials also fret that the North's offer of talks could be an effort to drive a wedge between Washington and its ally Seoul.

National Intelligence Service (NIS) chief Suh Hoon, picked as President Moon Jae-in's special envoy to North Korea, is known for his role in secret negotiations with Pyongyang to arrange two inter-Korean summits in the 2000s.

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However, while Pyongyang intends to resolve issues in a diplomatic and peaceful way, it will "neither beg for dialogue nor evade the military option claimed by the U.S.", he said.

The US is due to start joint exercises in early April, the latest in a series of drills that the North has regularly described as a threat.

South Korean officials said they have been in close consultations with their allies in Washington even as they have pursued talks with the North Koreans.

When Tillerson announced in December that the U.S.is ready to engage the North Koreans in talks without preconditions, the White House contradicted him, stressing that the U.S.is not ready.

Earlier that month on August 9, Trump issued an implicit warning to North Korea, tweeting the US nuclear arsenal is "far stronger and more powerful" than it ever has been.

Apparently, the North Korean regime was able to avoid worldwide sanctions by mining or stealing bitcoin, according to some experts.

The participants lived across North Korea, from Ryanggang Province on the northern border with China, to the capital Pyongyang and to Gangwon Province on the southern border with South Korea.

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