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US chief negotiator calls for direct diplomacy with North Korea

BANGKOK The chief US negotiator for North Korea said yesterday that the US should engage in direct diplomacy with Pyongyang alongside sanctions imposed over its nuclear programme.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered on Tuesday to begin direct talks with North Korea without pre-conditions, but the White House later said no negotiations could be held until North Korea improved its behaviour.

"We should exercise direct diplomacy as well as sanctions.

"That is our policy which is based on pressure and engagement, and we do want to engage in pressure and diplomacy," Mr Joseph Yun, US Special Representative for North Korea Policy, told reporters in Bangkok.

Mr Yun travelled to Japan and Thailand this week to discuss ways to build pressure on the North.

"We had very constructive and open-ended discussion," Mr Yun said of his meeting on Thursday with senior Thai officials.

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had earlier said no trade takes place between Thailand and North Korea and that Thailand has abided by United Nations resolutions. - REUTERS

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