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North Korea rules out dialogue with US amid tensions

North Korea on Tuesday reiterated that it will not hold a dialogue with the U.S., slamming South Korea for “meddling” in its affairs. In a statement carried by state-run Korean Central News Agency, Kwon Jong Gun, director-general of U.S. affairs at the Foreign Ministry, said: “Explicitly speaking once again, we have no intention to sit face to face with the U.S.”

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State and North Korea envoy Stephen Biegun arrived for discussions in the South on Tuesday, reports said, hours after Pyongyang again threw cold water on Seoul’s idea of another U.S.-North Korea summit.

The phrase is Washington’s goal for its negotiations with Pyongyang, but the North has made clear it has no intention of giving up its arsenal while it sees itself as threatened by a U.S. invasion.

Talks over Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal have been stalled since a Hanoi summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un collapsed in early 2019 over what the North would be willing to give up in exchange for sanctions relief.

Kim declared in December an end to moratoriums on nuclear and ballistic missile tests, and Pyongyang has repeatedly said it has no intention to continue talks unless Washington drops what it describes as “hostile” policies toward the North.

Biegun also suggested last month that another meeting between Trump and Kim is unlikely, although he held out hope for progress in nuclear negotiations.

Even so, rumors surrounding the possibility of another summit swirled last week, after former U.S. national security advisor John Bolton reportedly said Trump might pursue another meeting with Kim in October if it would help his reelection chances.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has long backed engagement with the North, also called for another Kim-Trump meeting before the U.S. presidential election in November, saying the South would make “utmost efforts” to help arrange it.

But the North’s Kwon described Moon as a “meddlesome man,” saying his administration was “guided by the habit of always talking in their own favor.”

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