Accessibility links

North Korea Calls for Talks with US to Resolve Nuclear Dispute

North Korea has again called for talks with the United States to solve the dispute over its nuclear program. North Korea's ambassador blamed the United States for the building confrontation, but made no mention of whether North Korea would be willing to give up its nuclear ambitions.

In a rare news conference, North Korea's ambassador to China, Choe Jin Su, repeatedly offered to hold talks with the United States, if Washington did not set conditions.

Speaking to reporters through a translator in Beijing, he said Washington is rejecting dialogue because it suffers from what he called "Cold War thinking."

"It is as clear as daylight that the outbreak of the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula is attributable to the U.S. hostile stance toward the DPRK [North Korea]," he said. "And, so, this issue must be solved between the DPRK and the U.S."

Washington has rejected direct talks, until Pyongyang ceases efforts to rebuild its nuclear program, which could produce material for weapons.

U.S. officials say there is little point in negotiating a new deal, if North Korea is not honoring previous agreements. They said last October, they discovered that Pyongyang broke a non-proliferation agreement by starting a uranium-enrichment scheme to develop nuclear weapons.

Then in December, the North began to reactivate its Yongbyon nuclear facility - frozen under the 1994 accord.

Ambassador Choe blames Washington for the tense standoff, accusing the United States of threatening his country with nuclear attack. Therefore, he says, North Korean actions to re-start its nuclear program are defensive.

Meantime, top diplomats from many nations are traveling around the globe holding a series of meetings, trying to figure how to defuse the North Korean nuclear crisis. Those talks involve South Korea, Russia, China, Japan, and the United States. But North Korea says its argument is with Washington, and other nations should either support its position - or keep quiet.