U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Washington is waiting to see if Pyeongyang wants to engage in diplomacy over the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
In an interview with ABC on Sunday, Blinken said the best way to accomplish that goal is "to engage diplomatically with North Korea on a deliberate, calibrated approach."
"Blinken's remarks are a strong message to the North that Washington is ready to engage with them. Also, the U.S. is showing an indirect intention, telling the North not to miss this opportunity."
Noting the regime's nuclear program has become more advanced and dangerous over time, he underlined that there is "not going to be a grand bargain where it gets resolved in one fell swoop."
He further explained that sanctions remain in place because the North continues to engage in activities that are clearly prohibited by the UN.
But the top U.S. diplomat made sure to stress that Washington is prepared to pursue the issue diplomatically and the question now is whether the North is ALSO ready.
Blinken noted an offer for talks has been presented to North Korea, adding "the ball's in their court".
Following last week's summit between the leaders of South Korea and the U.S., the White House showed its readiness to reopen diplomacy with the North by naming career diplomat Sung Kim as the new U.S. special envoy for the North.
Earlier this month, Washington had reached out to Pyeongyang for a second time to explain the outcome of its policy review on the regime to which the North said it had received that offer.
Kim Dami, Arirang News.