World

Seoul, US willing to engage N. Korea in 'right conditions'

US President Donald Trump told South Korea's presidential envoy that Washington was willing to try to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis through engagement, but under the right conditions, South Korea's foreign ministry said yesterday.

Mr Trump has said "a major, major conflict" with North Korea is possible and all options are on the table but that he wanted to resolve the crisis diplomatically, possibly through the extended use of economic sanctions.

South Korean President Moon Jae In, who took office last week, has campaigned on a more moderate approach towards the North, but has said it must change its attitude of insisting on arms development before dialogue can be possible.

"The fact that Mr Trump said he will not have talks for the sake of talks reiterated our joint stance that we are open to dialogue but the right situation must be formed," said South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho June Hyuck.

South Korea and the US agreed during a visit to Seoul by Mr Trump's national security advisers this week to formulate a "bold and pragmatic" joint approach, Mr Cho added.

The North has vowed to develop a missile mounted with a nuclear warhead that can strike the US mainland, saying the programme is necessary to counter American aggression.

North Korea conducted its latest ballistic missile test on Sunday in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, saying it was a test of its capability to carry a "large-size heavy nuclear warhead". But a senior North Korean diplomat has said Pyongyang is open to talks with Washington under the right conditions. - REUTERS

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