UNITED STATES: The Deputy Secretary of the United States, Wendy Sherman, has urged North Korea to engage in serious diplomacy, the State Department announced on Wednesday. The call came during a phone conversation with Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori on Tuesday, according to Yonhap news agency, citing the department.
According to a press release, “The two officials reaffirmed the importance of continued US-Japan cooperation in making progress toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
“Deputy Secretary Sherman emphasized the US readiness to meet the DPRK without preconditions and urged the DPRK to engage in major and sustained diplomacy,” the statement continued, mentioning to North Korea by its authorized name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. This call was the latest in a series of high-level discussions between the US and its allies after the North’s recent missile tests.
Pyongyang carried out seven rounds of missile launches in January alone, the most in a single month. Last week, a trilateral talk in Hawaii was held by South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-Yong, United States Secretary Antony Blinken, and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi immediately after their top nuclear envoys held three-way talks on ways to engage North Korea, also in Hawaii.
Sherman also held bilateral and trilateral phone calls with her Japanese counterpart and South Korean counterpart, Noh Kyu-duk, following North Korea’s launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile on January 30, the North’s longest-range ballistic missile launch since late 2017.
According to the department, Sherman and her Japanese counterpart discussed the “destabilizing nature” of North Korean missile launches. According to the state department, the US and Japanese officials also emphasized the significance of trilateral cooperation between Japan, the US, and South Korea in addressing the North Korea issue and other shared Indo-Pacific priorities.
Since November 2017, the North has maintained a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range ballistic missile testing. Amid a protected stalemate in talks with the US, it has threatened to resume “all temporarily suspended activities.”
Since late 2019, the country has avoided denuclearization talks with the US. It has also remained deafeningly to recent United States overtures.