The suspension of North Korea’s nuclear tests is the first precondition for Washington to accept talks with Pyongyang, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Sunday.
“We have to agree to discuss a ban on their nuclear weapons” before entering into any talks, Hayley said in an interview with ABC News.
She noted that the cessation of nuclear tests should continue “long enough” before the negotiations to “the next stage.”
“It will not happen overnight,” she said, citing US President Donald Trump’s statement that “we can talk at some point with North Korea, but there must be a lot of things before that.”
Trump on Saturday expressed his willingness to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, while shy hopes over the weekend of inter-Korean détente after months of escalation and the war of words between Pyongyang and Washington.
In recent months, North Korea has conducted several missile launches and a sixth nuclear test in September 2017, the strongest yet.
In a New Year message, the North Korean leader stressed that his country had achieved its goal of becoming a nuclear state.
Hailey defended Trump’s tough comments, which contributed to rising tension with Pyongyang and threatened to destroy North Korea if it attacked the United States or its allies.
“It is very important that we do not let him end up arrogant so he does not realize what will really happen if he launches a nuclear war,” she said, referring to Kim Jong-un.
The US ambassador hailed the upcoming inter-Korean talks on North Korea’s participation in the Winter Olympics, which will begin on February 9, 2018 in Pyongyang, South Korea. “It is good for the United States to resume talks,” she said.