North Korea: US military drills harm reconciliation

The comment comes in response to a remark by U.S. President Donald Trump late last month that he would only want to talk to Pyongyang under the "right conditions".

The US is due to begin joint exercises with Seoul in early April, a South Korean presidential security adviser said earlier this week, as quoted by Yonhap news agency.

Ivanka Trump leads convoy to South Korea to discuss sanctions after Mike Pence's talks with North Korea are cancelled; Bruce Klingner of the Heritage Foundation provides insight.

The marked rapprochement saw the two Koreas march into the Games opening ceremony together behind a unification flag, and Moon share a historic handshake with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong.

The possibility of talks between Washington and Pyongyang gained traction after the North stated its willingness for dialogue a few times last month, amid its participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

According to the sources, candidates for the envoy position include NIS director general Suh Hoon and Unification Minister Cho Myoung Gyon.

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The U.S. government welcomes the South-North dialogue, but refuses to negotiate with Pyongyang unless talks are premised on the North's denuclearization.

Administration officials have emphasized that the goal is to continue using sanctions and diplomatic pressure to push any decision on whether to engage in military action against North Korea as far as possible into the future.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga emphatically said at a press conference Friday: "Close cooperation among Japan, the United States and South Korea is extremely important".

The US submitted the request a week ago, a move it said is "aimed at shutting down North Korea's illicit maritime smuggling activities to obtain oil and sell coal".

North Korea said Saturday it is willing to have talks with the United States, but that it rejects preconditions and Washington's demands that it must first demonstrate its willingness to denuclearize.

The council has unanimously boosted sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke off funding for Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs, banning exports including coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood, and capping imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products.

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