N. Korea says its ready to restart talks with Trump but tests weapons


North Korea says it is rethinking whether to abide by its moratorium on nuclear and missile tests and other steps aimed at improving ties with the US. The statement blames upcoming regular US-South Korean military drills. (July 16)

WASHINGTON – North Korea appeared to conduct another round of weapons tests on Monday, just after the country’s foreign minister said Kim Jong Un’s regime is willing to restart stalled negotiations over its nuclear arsenal. 

South Korea’s military said North Korea launched an undisclosed number of “projectiles” but did not say whether they were missiles or provide other details. 

“Our military is monitoring the situation in case of additional launches and maintaining a readiness posture,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement carried by Yonhap News Agency.

North Korea has conducted a series of short-range missile tests in recent months, which the country’s state-run media portrayed as a rebuke to protest joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises. Those drills, which were mostly computer simulated, ended last month.  

Monday’s launch came shortly after North Korea’s foreign minister, Choe Son Hui, expressed a willingness to resume talks with the Trump administration as early as this month. But she said the U.S. had to come to the talks with a new proposal. 

The last round of negotiations, during a February summit in Hanoi with President Donald Trump and Kim, collapsed in failure. North Korea had offered to dismantle its main nuclear facility but did not agree to give up its nuclear weapons cache or take other steps toward denuclearization. The U.S. has called on North Korea to fully dismantle its weapons program.  

North Korea is willing to sit down with the United States “for comprehensive discussions in late September of the issues we have so far taken up, at a time and place to be agreed,” Choe said. 

But she said if the U.S. comes back to the “worn-out scenario,” then North Korea may end the negotiations.  

Contributing: Associated Press

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