North Korea reportedly willing to conduct talks with US

  • A North Korean official reportedly said that the country had "enough" willingness to conduct talks with the US.
  • Kim Yong Chol, North Korea's vice chairman of the ruling Worker's Party Central Committee, made the comment to South Korean President Moon Jae In, during his trip to the South.


A high-ranking North Korean official said that North Korea has "enough" willingness to conduct talks with the US, according to South Korea's government on Sunday.

Kim Yong Chol, North Korea's vice chairman of the ruling Worker's Party Central Committee and the country's former intelligence chief, reportedly made the comment during a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae In during his visit to the 2018 Winter Olympics, according to South Korea's Yonhap News.

"President Moon pointed out that US-North Korea dialogue must be held at an early date even for an improvement in the South-North Korea relationship and the fundamental resolution of Korean Peninsula issues," a South Korean government official said in the report.

"The North Korean delegation too agreed that North Korea-US relations must develop along with the South-North Korea relationship while noting [the North] has enough intention to hold North Korea-US dialogue," the official continued.

Kim's comment comes amid a new round of US sanctions against North Korea and sharp words from President Donald Trump, who suggested if the sanctions were ineffective, the US would be forced to enter a "very rough" phase with the regime.

RELATED: US-North Korea relations escalate in 1968

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US-North Korea relations escalate in 1968
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US-North Korea relations escalate in 1968
(Original Caption) 12/23/1968-Pammunjom, South Korea- Commander Lloyd Bucher, (L) captain of the captured U.S. intelligence ship, 'Pueblo,' leaves a press conference at a base camp near Pammunjom following his and his crew's release from North Korea after eleven months of captivity. Bucher is accompanied by U.S. Navy Public Information Officer, Captain Vince Thomas, (center), and a military policeman.
Commander Lloyd E. Bucher (left, back to the wall), commanding officer of the USS Pueblo, a Navy ship captured by North Korea in the Sea of Japan in 1968, answers questions during a naval court of inquiry. January 24, 1969. His counsel, E. Miles Harvey and Captain James E. Keyes, sit at a nearby table (right). (Photo by Nord Petersen/Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA - APRIL 20: North Korean navy ratings guard the USS Pueblo, an American spy ship, on the river Taedong in central Pyongyang 16 April 2001. The ship was attacked and captured in January 1968 and the crew held for 11 months. It has now become a symbol of a new anti-US propaganda battle. According to North Korean state media, growing numbers of people visit the ship to show their anger at US policy toward the communist state. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read TIM WITCHER/AFP/Getty Images)
Crew members of the US Navy spy ship 'USS Pueblo' cross the Bridge of No Return between North and South Korea, after their release into US custody, 23rd December 1968. They had been seized by North Korean forces on 23rd January of the same year. Official US Navy Photo by PH2 T. K. Reynolds, USNR. (Photo by Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Comdr. Lloyd Bucher, the Pueblo's captain, appears at a press conference in Pyongyang, North Korea, 9/12/68. At the press conference, members of the Pueblo's crew explained the ship's mission and described its capture. The newsfilm from which these pictures were made was shot by the North Korean news agency.
(Original Caption) Major General Pak Chung Kuk, North Korean Army, across table from Rear Admiral John V. Smith, U.S. Navy, during 262nd meeting of the Armistice Commission.
Korean Guard looks out window with binoculars. | Location: Pamunjom, Korea.
(Original Caption) President Johnson confers with Defense Secretary McNamara during a meeting of the National Security Council at the Executive Mansion 1/24, in this photo released by the White House. The Council discussed the seizure on the high seas of the USS Pueblo by North Korea.
(Original Caption) As the news came in that President Johnson had ordered 14,787 Air Force and Navy Reservists to active duty January 25th, William D. Jackson of Brooklyn (right) entered the US Air Force recruiting station at Times Square and talked about enlisting. Chatting with him is Technical Sgt. Steven L. Ramirez. The United States called, January 25th, for an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council to consider 'the grave situation' arising from the seizure of the intelligence ship 'Pueblo' by North Korea.
Algerian Ambassador to the United nations Tewfik Bouattoura (left) listens during a UN Security Council meeting addressing the international inicdent involving North Korea's capture of an alleged American spy boat, the USS Pueblo (AGER-2), New York, New York, late January 1968. (Photo by Al Fenn/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
The U.S.Aircraft carrier ENTERPRISE, 75,700 tons, the world's largest warship which carries about 100 planes, and which is reported to be sailing towards North Korea following the seizure of America's spy ship 'Pueblo' in international waters. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
Officers and crew of the United States Navy ship USS Pueblo being led away after being captured by North Korean forces in international waters in the Sea of Japan during the Vietnam War.
(Original Caption) Senator J. William Fulbright (D-Arkansas), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, following a 3-hour meeting of his committee 1/24, said a decision on whether to order a full scale investigation into the Tonkin Gulf attack had been postponed. Fulbright said he felt the Administration should 'be very careful' in its response to North Korea's seizure of the USS Pueblo.
NORTH KOREA - JANUARY 01: North Korea. Discovery of weapons and bodies of a United Nations commando force which entered illegally into North Korea. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) 1/2/1968-Along the Western Truce Front, Korea- U.S. troops manning the western tip of 151-mile Korean truce front have recently completed a 15-mile fence as part of a new security system along the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Constructed of iron poles and barbed wire, the fence- it is hoped -will keep North Koreans from smuggling agents into the South.
Commander Lloyd Bucher is greeted by his wife, Cindy, upon returning from captivity in North Korea. He and his crew aboard the USS Pueblo were captured in January 1968. (Photo by James L. Amos/Corbis via Getty Images)
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"If the sanctions don't work, we'll have to go Phase Two," Trump said during a press conference on Friday. "Phase Two may be a very rough thing. Maybe very, very unfortunate for the world."

Kim arrived in South Korea on Sunday as part of the North's delegation in the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics.

Kim's presence was met with protests from many South Koreans, including lawmakers, who have blamed Kim's widely believed role in orchestrating a series of provocations, namely the sinking of the South Korea's Cheonan — a South Korean naval ship that was hit with a torpedo in 2010.

Fourty-six South Korean sailors died in the incident which has since become a divisive issue in the country. During Vice President Mike Pence's recent trip to South Korea's Winter Olympics, he and South Korean President Moon Jae In visited a memorial of the incident, which includes a salvaged hull of the ship.

Chol's trip was approved by South Korea as a way to "improve inter-Korean ties and pave way for dialogue for peace," a spokesman from South Korea's Unification Ministry said in a previous Yonhap News report.

Though North Korea recently made a series of diplomatic moves that, at least on the surface, indicate a willingness to improve its standing with South Korea, it is the first time in many years that it showed a willingness to negotiate with the US.

But despite a nod to North Korean-US talks, the regime still appeared to launch its usual barrage of threats. On Saturday, North Korea's state-run media said that its nuclear weapons were only aimed at the US and were only meant to establish peace on the Korean peninsula.

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