North Korea is looking to renew peace negotiations with the United States later this month after they initially announced they would be walking away.
President Trump, who has prioritized peace negotiations on the Korean Penninsula—getting closer than any U.S. president in decades to scoring a deal—applauded the reversal as a “good thing.”
ABC News reports:
North Korea is willing “to sit with the U.S. side for comprehensive discussions of the issues we have so far taken up, at the time and place to be agreed late in September,” said the regime’s Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency.
The potential offer comes nearly two months after the U.S. and North Korea were supposed to meet over the summer. After Trump and Kim Jong Un met at the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea in late June, his administration said working-level talks would resume by mid-July. Those would be a critical set of meetings for the U.S. to hammer out an agreement on eliminating North Korea’s nuclear weapons program in exchange for United Nations sanctions relief after the two leaders failed to reach one in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February.
Those July talks never occurred and Noth Korean leader Kim Jong-Un later announced he would no longer be pursuing peace.
According to the report, the negotiations were caught up on when the United Nations and the US would drop economic sanctions on North Korea.
The US is pushing for a total disarmament and the breaking down of all nuclear facilities prior to economic sanction relief.
North Korea has closed several facilities but said they would close no more without the UN agreeing to drop the economic sanctions against their country.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has maintained optimism throughout the process and predicted on Sunday that North Korea would soon re-enter the discussions.
“We’re hopeful that in the coming days or perhaps weeks we will be back at the negotiating table with them,” he told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” Sunday, ABC News reports.
"We know Chairman Kim has continued to make the commitment to denuclearize. We are hopeful that in the coming days, or perhaps weeks, we'll be back at the negotiating table," Sec. Mike Pompeo says when pressed about North Korea testing short-range missile https://t.co/4KgJD7LIz0 pic.twitter.com/qwVw9XzTEc
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) September 8, 2019
President Trump echoed similar optimism to a group of reporters outside the White House on Monday afternoon: “I have a very good relationship with Chairman Kim. … They would like to meet. We’ll see what happens. I always say having meetings is a good thing, not a bad thing.”
In the hiatus, North Korea continued their missile testings and launched several short-range missiles into the sea—a violation of a verbal agreement made between Chairman Kim Jong-Un and Trump.