Washington: The United States and
South Korea are willing to hold talks with North Korea if
Pyongyang "rejects its provocative ways," a senior US official
said on Thursday.
"The United States and South Korea have always
maintained, and our position is clear, that we are prepared
under the right circumstances to sit down in a dialogue with
North Korea," said Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of state
for East Asia.
But he warned North Korea would have to demonstrate
a commitment to change its behaviour before US and South
Korean negotiators would start a dialogue.
"We do not want to talk for talking`s sake. There
has to be a clear determination that North Korea rejects its
provocative ways and embraces a path towards denuclearisation
of the Korean peninsula," he said.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled
to visit Seoul next week on a trip that will include a stop in
Hanoi for a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian
She will hold bilateral talks with South Korean
officials in Seoul "to make sure that we`re closely
coordinated in terms of the way forward about possible paths
of engagement to North Korea in the future," Campbell said.
Tensions on the Korean peninsula remain high in the
wake of the March sinking of a South Korean warship.
A multinational investigation into the torpedo
attack on the corvette, which killed 46 South Koreans,
determined Pyongyang was responsible.
The United Nations Security Council condemned the
attack, but declined to specifically chastise Pyongyang, which
denies involvement in the attack and has threatened a military
response to any attempts to punish it for the incident.