U.S. calls on N.K. to avoid provocations, return to nuclear talks

November 29, 2019

 The United States calls on North Korea to avoid provocations and return to negotiations on dismantling its nuclear weapons program, the State Department said Friday.

The comment comes after North Korea fired two projectiles from a super-large multiple rocket launcher on Thursday in its 13th major weapons test this year.

The top nuclear envoys of South Korea, the United States and Japan spoke by phone following the launch to share their assessments and coordinate future steps, Seoul’s foreign ministry said earlier.

Asked about the phone call between Lee Do-hoon, special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, and his U.S. counterpart, Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun, a spokesperson for the State Department declined to comment on the details of private diplomatic conversations.

“We call on North Korea to avoid provocations, abide by obligations under U.N. Security Council Resolutions, and return to sustained and substantive negotiations to do its part to achieve complete denuclearization,” the spokesperson added.

The latest launch came as North Korea has pressured the U.S. to come up with a solution to their stalled denuclearization negotiations before the end of the year.

The two sides last held working-level talks in Sweden in October, but failed to make any tangible progress on matching North Korea’s denuclearization steps with sanctions relief and other concessions from the U.S.

North Korea is under multiple U.N. Security Council sanctions resolutions aimed at ridding the regime of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.