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North Korea seeks more concessions from US: experts

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un speaks during the third plenary session of the eighth Central Committee of the country's ruling Workers' Party of Korea,<strong></strong> June 17, the third day of the five-day meeting held last week in Pyongyang, in this photo released by the country's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) the following day. Talking about the country's foreign policy on the third day of the meeting, the North Korean leader said the country needs to prepare for both dialogue and confrontation, which U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan called an 'interesting signal.' KCNA-Yonhap
North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un speaks during the third plenary session of the eighth Central Committee of the country's ruling Workers' Party of Korea, June 17, the third day of the five-day meeting held last week in Pyongyang, in this photo released by the country's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) the following day. Talking about the country's foreign policy on the third day of the meeting, the North Korean leader said the country needs to prepare for both dialogue and confrontation, which U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan called an "interesting signal." KCNA-Yonhap

Pyongyang will not come to negotiating table without more US enticements

By Jung Da-min

North Korea is unlikely to return to dialogue with the United States unless Washington makes more concessions despite its hopes that Pyongyang will respond positively to its overtures, according to Pyongyang watchers, Thursday.

This assessment was based on a series of recent messages from the reclusive regime that said it was not considering any dialogue with the U.S.

"We are not considering even the possibility of any contact with the U.S., let alone having it, which would get us nowhere, only taking up precious time," North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Son-gwon said in a statement carried by its state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Wednesday night.

Ri also said the North Korean foreign ministry welcomed another statement by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister Kim Yo-jong, which was delivered one day earlier.

She said the U.S. government was misinterpreting her brother's recent "dialogue and confrontation" message, adding the U.S.'s hope for dialogue will only end up in "greater disappointment." At a meeting of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) held last week, the North Korean leader said the country needs to prepare for both dialogue and confrontation, which U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan called an "interesting signal."

Many North Korea watchers said that Pyongyang is not closing the door for dialogue but rather issuing constant messages that Washington should first make a concession, such as sanctions relief.

"North Korea has been watching how the situation develops after issuing a rather ambiguous message. Seeing that the statements from Pyongyang have been short and vague compared to its previous messages which were long, specific and more hostile, there seems to be room for other interpretations," said Park Won-gon, a professor with the Ewha Womans University's Department of North Korean Studies.

"It seems that Pyongyang is saying that it is not considering a dialogue with the U.S. at this moment when it cannot gain any tangible outcomes. But at the same time, the recent statements have not directly said that Pyongyang wants the U.S. to withdraw what the reclusive regime calls hostile policies against it, and Pyongyang seems to be considering various scenarios."

Moon Sung-mook, a senior researcher at the Korea Research Institute for National Strategy, said he doubts any U.S.-North Korea dialogue will be held in the near future considering the differences between their stances.

Since the Joe Biden administration completed a review of its North Korea policy in late April, Washington has been seeking what it calls a "calibrated, practical approach" to North Korea, saying it is open to diplomacy with North Korea. The Biden administration's new Special Representative for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Ambassador Sung Kim said Monday during his visit to Seoul that "Hopefully Chairman Kim's reference to dialogue indicates that it will be the positive," referring to Kim's remarks at the WPK meeting held last week.

"While Washington's stance is that North Korea should come to the negotiating table without any conditions, Pyongyang's stance is that it would not do so, unless the U.S. meets the condition of making a concession first," Moon said.

"Pyongyang's message is that it would not close the door for dialogue but would not open it either unless the U.S. meets the conditions it has set."


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