North Korea rejects US preconditions for holding talks

In this image made from video by North Korea's KRT, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, center, attends a military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. North Korea held the military parade and rally on Kim Il Sung Square on Thursday, just one day before South Korea hosts the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. (KRT via AP Video)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — 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.

During the closing ceremony for the recently concluded Olympics in South Korea, the office of South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced that a North Korean delegate to the Olympics said his country is willing to hold talks with the U.S. President Donald Trump responded by saying talks will happen only "under the right conditions."

The Trump administration's position is that North Korea must show a real commitment toward ending its nuclear and missile programs before any talks can take place. The U.S. has applied a series of sanctions in what it says is a "maximum pressure campaign" to force North Korea to disarm.

On Saturday, the spokesperson for North Korea's foreign ministry said the North would not accept preconditions for talks.

"In decades-long history of the DPRK-U.S. talks, there had been no case at all where we sat with the U.S. on any precondition, and this will be the case in future, too," the spokesperson said in comments carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency. "The U.S. attitude shown after we clarified our intention for DPRK-U.S. dialogue compels us to only think that the U.S. is not interested in resuming the DPRK-U.S. dialogue."

North Korea is formally known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"It is the consistent and principled position of the DPRK to resolve issues in a diplomatic and peaceful way through dialogue and negotiation," the spokesperson said. "The dialogue we desire is the one designed to discuss and resolve the issues of mutual concern on an equal footing between states."

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