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N. Korea-U.S. working level talks to take place in August? Updated: 2019-08-12 13:22:00 KST

U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday to say that he's looking forward to seeing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un "in the not too distant future."
He said Kim sent him a letter and the North Korean leader wants to start denuclearization talks once the joint South Korea-U.S. military drills known as "Combined Command Post Training" come to an end.
Those exercises are scheduled to run through next Tuesday.

This is why speculation is mounting over possible working level talks taking place in late August.
On the same day, a senior North Korean foreign ministry official in charge of U.S. affairs urged Washington to come to the talks with the "right attitude" and they will meet directly, not through South Korea as they did before when they met at the DMZ in June.

At their last meeting, President Trump said working level talks with North Korea would take place soon, but nothing has happened since.

The U.S. aims to begin the talks by early September at the latest, just in time for the UN General Assembly slated for late September, so it opens the possibility for senior level talks with North Korea on the sidelines of that meeting.

If that happens, those talks could pave the way for a fourth leaders' summit between North Korea and the U.S.

However, an expert says, even if the two sides are to start talks in the first place, they have some hurdles to overcome.

"North Korea is likely to ask the U.S. to agree to step-by-step denuclearization and an easing of sanctions. If the U.S. rebuffs that proposal, North Korea will likely wait for another chance to hold talks around the end of the year."

Even if North Korea agrees to Washington's demands, it's unclear what the North will ask for in return, and whether the two sides could meet for the fourth time this year.
Choi Si-young, Arirang News.
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