North Korea wants direct talks with U.S.

(AP) - North Korea said Wednesday it wants direct talks with the United States over its apparent plans to test-fire a long-range missile, a day after the country issued a bristling statement in which it declared its right to carry out the launch.

Tensions in the region have soared following intelligence reports that the North was fueling a ballistic missile believed capable of reaching U.S. territory. The U.S. and Japan have said they could consider sanctions against the impoverished country if it goes ahead, and Washington was weighing responses that could include attempting to shoot the missile down, reports Trend.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung cited the missile crisis as the reason for canceling a trip next week to the North that could have offered a rare chance for talks to soothe tensions.

North Korea said in comments published Wednesday that its self-imposed moratorium on testing long-range missiles from 1999 no longer applies because it's not in direct dialogue with Washington, suggesting it would hold off on any launch if Washington agreed to new talks.

"Some say our missile test launch is a violation of the moratorium, but this is not the case," Han Song Ryol, deputy chief of North Korea's mission to the United Nations, told South Korea's Yonhap news agency in an interview from New York.

"North Korea as a sovereign state has the right to develop, deploy, test fire and export a missile," he said. "We are aware of the U.S. concerns about our missile test-launch. So our position is that we should resolve the issue through negotiations."

Pyongyang has consistently pressed for direct dialogue with the United States, while Washington insists it will only speak to the North at six-nation nuclear talks. The North has refused to return to those nuclear talks since November because of a U.S. crackdown on the country's alleged illicit financial activity.

On Wednesday, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, Thomas Scheiffer, called on Pyongyang to return to the six-party talks but did not address the possibility of bilateral negotiations.

"They have the opportunity to do that through the six-party talks," he said. "They don't have to undertake bad policies in order to talk to the United States."

He also said the United States has means of responding to a North Korean missile test that it didn't have the last time Pyongyang carried out a launch in 1998, and is considering "all options."

Scheiffer didn't specify what those options were, but defense officials in Washington told The Associated Press that the White House was weighing responses to a missile launch that could include attempting to shoot it down while in flight over the Pacific. However, such a move was considered unlikely.

On Tuesday, North Korea asserted its right to test-fire missiles in a sharply worded statement to Japanese reporters in Pyongyang.

"This issue concerns our autonomy. Nobody has a right to slander that right," the Kyodo News agency quoted North Korean Foreign Ministry official Ri Pyong Dok as saying.

A year after it shocked the world by test-firing a missile over northern Japan, North Korea imposed a missile moratorium in 1999 amid friendlier relations with the United States. During a 2002 summit with Japan, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il signed an agreement to extend the moratorium until at least 2003 and reaffirmed the launch ban at another summit in 2004.

Japan disputed the North's position on lifting the moratorium.

"If the missile is launched, it is clear the act will violate" the 2002 agreement, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said in Tokyo. "It will also breach promises with the international community."

Meanwhile, a meeting that had raised hopes for dialogue over the missile issue was called off amid the heightened tensions. Kim Dae-jung's trip to the North was canceled because the conditions had "become difficult," Jeong Se-hyun, a former unification minister, told a Seoul news conference. Jeong said the trip would be possible only once the missile crisis is resolved.

Kim Dae-jung met Kim Jong Il in June 2000 in the first-and-only summit between leaders of the divided Koreas. The two Kims had been expected to meet again during the scheduled four-day visit.

Intelligence reports say the North has fueled a Taepodong-2 missile with a range experts estimate could be up to 9,300 miles making it capable of reaching parts of the United States. North Korea claims it has nuclear weapons, but isn't believed to have a design that would be small and light enough to top a missile.

U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said signs of a possible North Korean launch remained uncertain. "They seem to be moving toward a launch, but the intelligence is not conclusive at this point," Hadley told reporters on Air Force One on the way to Europe, where President Bush was meeting Wednesday with European leaders.

Bad weather at the launch site Wednesday dimmed chances of an immediate test.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Weekly actual topics in Azerbaijan (April 16-20)
Weekly actual topics in Azerbaijan (April 16-20)
Weekly tenders in the region (April 16-20)
Weekly tenders in the region (April 16-20)
Last week’s laws, orders and decrees in Azerbaijan (April 16-20)
Last week’s laws, orders and decrees in Azerbaijan (April 16-20)
Loading Bars
Latest
Heads of Japan major parties to hold debate ahead of key election
Israel reports rise in cyberattack attempts against hospitals
Erdogan arrives in Angola in first leg of Africa tour
Facebook plans to hire 10,000 in EU to build 'metaverse'
At least one dead, several injured in shooting incident in U.S.
UK to fund new nuclear power station as part of net zero drive
Former U.S. president Clinton released from hospital
U.S. administers 408.3 mln doses of COVID-19 vaccines - CDC
French ambassador leaves Belarus - embassy
Google dedicates doodle to Azerbaijan's Restoration of Independence Day
Chronicles of Victory: President Aliyev announces that Azerbaijan's armed forces raise Azerbaijan's flag over ancient Khudaferin Bridge (VIDEO)
Chronicles of Victory: October 18, 2020
Georgian CEC calls on public to participate in October 30 municipal run-offs
Turkey expresses interest in expanding activities of Turkish companies in Kyrgyzstan
Helicopter crash kills three in Germany
As soon as possible, we will return to their native lands IDPs who lived in suffering for 30 years - Azerbaijani president
Heydar Aliyev did not allow holding of referendum on preservation of Soviet Union in Nakhchivan - President Aliyev
Celebrating October 18 solemnly or thanking someone for it is absolutely inappropriate, says Azerbaijani president
UK records more than 40,000 COVID cases for fifth day in a row
Cargo movements in Iran’s Qeshm port up
Amendments related to national holidays completely correspond to historical realities - Azerbaijani president
First VP of Azerbaijan makes Instagram post after meeting with heroes of Second Karabakh war (PHOTO)
Georgia faces fifth Covid-19 wave, observing recommendations much needed, NCDC Head says
UNHCR opens alternative route of aid to Afghanistan via Uzbekistan
Azerbaijan allocates funds for construction of Fuzuli Memorial Complex
Master plans of Zangilan, Gubadly, Kalbajar and Lachin being developed - Azerbaijani president
Azerbaijani economy grows by about 5%, non-oil economy by 20% over 9 months - President Aliyev
Large settlement will be created based on "smart village" concept in village of Dovletyarly - Azerbaijani president
We significantly brought closer day of IDPs return to their homelands - President Aliyev
Projects under implementation in Fuzuli show our determination and potential - Azerbaijani president
We will restore Fuzuli city, settlements of Fuzuli district - President Aliyev
Every person who visits Fuzuli becomes witness of Armenian vandalism and no one can deny this, says Azerbaijani president
This glorious victory will forever remain in history of Azerbaijan - President Ilham Aliyev
After liberation of Fuzuli, cases of desertion in Armenian army became even more widespread - President Aliyev
After Fuzuli was liberated it created more opportunities to move towards Shusha - President Aliyev
President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva view conditions created at Fuzuli International Airport
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 1,896 more COVID-19 cases, 764 recoveries
Azerbaijani president, first lady meet with members of Fuzuli district's general public (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani president, first lady view conditions created in Fuzuli Central City Park, plant trees there
President Aliyev lays foundation for Digital Substation Management Center in Fuzuli
President Ilham Aliyev lays foundation stone for Fuzuli Memorial Complex, city of Fuzuli
Liberation of Fuzuli during war was very important - President Ilham Aliyev
October 17 will forever have special place in history - President Ilham Aliyev
President Aliyev lays foundation stones for Fuzuli-Aghdam highway and new “smart village” in Fuzuli (PHOTO)
President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva visit Fuzuli district (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Ukrainian MPs visit Ganja where cilivians died as result of missile attacks by Armenia (PHOTOS)
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for October 17
BSEC SG to visit Georgia today
Over 600 COVID-19 patients in Kazakhstan in critical condition
Energy Community highlights leading energy projects implemented in Georgia
First concert of Azerbaijan's trio under leadership Isfar Sarabsky takes place as part of European tour (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Buy/sell operations at Iran Mercantile Exchange soar
Graduation ceremony of Azerbaijani servicemen participating in courses held in Turkey
Heavy rains lash India's Kerala, red alert sounded in 5 districts
Share of households with internet access increases in Georgia
Seventeen U.S. missionaries and family kidnapped in Haiti
Iranian private investments in Tajikistan expected to grow
1,900 new COVID-19 cases reported in Kazakhstan
IRICA unveils data on exports of Iran to Belarus
Azerbaijan national team takes second place at Grand Slam judo tournament
8 killed, over 20 injured in traffic accident in Peru
1 deputy killed, 2 injured in "ambush shooting" in U.S. Texas
Israel's active COVID-19 cases below 20,000
At least 6 dead, 1 missing after ship sinks in Brazil
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry shares publication in connection with anniversary of Armenia's missile attack on Ganja
Information about firing of Azerbaijani army in direction of Arazdeyen does not reflect truth - Ministry of Defense
Sudan protest calls for military coup as political crisis deepens
Chronicles of Victory: President Ilham Aliyev addresses the nation on October 17, 2020 (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Chronicles of Victory: October 17, 2020
District Election Commissions to sum up protocols of municipal polls in Georgia
A working meeting of the delegations of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan takes place
Russian authorities say 18 dead in suspected alcohol poisoning in Yekaterinburg
UN chief welcomes unilateral cease-fire in CAR
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price continues to rise
Work on increasing wages, pensions and benefits begins - Ministry of Finance of Azerbaijan
Official talks reasons for increase in gas prices in Azerbaijan
Post-conflict reconstruction projects launched by President Ilham Aliyev is unprecedented - Aide to President (VIDEO)
Azerbaijani IDEA signs agreement with All-Russian Society for Nature Conservation (PHOTO)
Saudi Arabia's PIF launches offshore platform tourism project
NATO Special Representative for Caucasus to visit Azerbaijan
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on October 17
Iran reaches grow in exports to Kyrgyzstan
World gas prices grow by 20-30 times compared to last year - SOCAR
Latvia to gift Georgia 83,070 doses of Pfizer jab
Earthquake hits southern Iran
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 1,681 more COVID-19 cases, 675 recoveries
South Caucasus countries need to coordinate to open communications - Pakistani diplomat
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signs decree on raising social payments
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for October 16
Uzbekistan to privatize public park in Tashkent
Muslims all together sympathetic with Azerbaijan - Palestinian ambassador
Iran's exports to Kazakhstan up
SOCAR Georgia Gas opens tender on pickup trucks through operating lease
Turkish president and German chancellor holding talks in Istanbul
Novak does not rule out recurrence of energy crisis in Europe, urges its prevention
Azerbaijani official talks victims of Armenian attacks on Tartar during Second Karabakh War
Centuries needed to revive nature of Azerbaijan's Karabakh - minister
Azerbaijan raises electricity and gas prices
All news