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North Koreans dismiss US outreach as a ‘cheap trick’


(ATF) North Korea on March 17 decried US outreach as a “cheap trick”, saying it has no interest in dealing with a “hostile” Washington.

Choe Son Hui, North Korea’s first vice-minister of foreign affairs, on March 18 issued a statement rebuffing approaches by the new US administration.

Her tirade came as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited South Korea in the first overseas trip by top-level members of Biden’s administration.

Ahead of their arrival, Washington issued a statement saying it hoped to renew moves to persuade Pyongyang to abandon nuclear weapons.

North Korea is expected to be a subject of upcoming talks between US and Chinese officials.

Blinken and US national security adviser Jake Sullivan will meet Yang Jiechi, director of China’s Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, and State Councillor Wang Yi on March 18-19 in Anchorage, Alaska.

PHONE CALLS AND EMAILS

The US attempts at contact with Pyongyang were made through phone calls and emails, Choe said in a statement carried by the official Korea Central News Agency.

Choe said North Korea would not talk to the Biden administration while the US conducts military drills with Seoul and imposes sanctions on Pyongyang.

“What has been heard from the US since the emergence of the new regime is only lunatic theory of a ‘threat from North Korea’ and groundless rhetoric about complete denuclearisation,” Choe said.

Blinken and Austin met their South Korean counterparts in Seoul on March 17 to discuss threats from the nuclear-armed North Korea as well as issues with China. They had previously visited Tokyo.

“The US continues to promote expanded cooperation [with Japan and South Korea] to … reinvigorate trilateral cooperation on a broad range of global issues, including the denuclearisation of North Korea,” a US statement said.

With reporting by Agence France-Presse and Reuters

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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.

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