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NKorea Welcomes New Negotiations       09/20 06:32

   SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- North Korea on Friday praised President Donald 
Trump for saying Washington may pursue an unspecified "new method" in nuclear 
negotiations with Pyongyang.

   Those talks have been stalled for months by disagreements over trade-offs 
between sanctions relief and disarmament steps.

   In a statement released by state media, North Korean diplomat Kim Myong Gil, 
who will be leading planned working-level talks with Washington, also praised 
Trump's decision to fire his hawkish former National Security Adviser John 
Bolton, who advocated the "Libya model" of unilateral denuclearization as a 
template for North Korea.

   Kim said he is optimistic about negotiations with the United States, which 
the North earlier said could resume in a few weeks.

   Pyongyang has repeatedly demanded that Washington reconsider its stance 
following the collapse of a February summit between North Korean leader Kim 
Jong Un and Trump.

   "(I) would like to welcome the wise political decision of President Trump to 
approach the DPRK-U.S. relations from a more practical point of view now that a 
nasty trouble-maker who used to face everything out of his anachronistic way of 
thinking has disappeared from the U.S. administration," said Kim, the diplomat, 
referring to North Korea by its formal name, the Democratic People's Republic 
of Korea.

   Bolton, who North Korea previously described as a "war monger" and 
"defective human product," had insisted that the North should follow the Libyan 
path of denuclearization by fully eliminating its nuclear program upfront in a 
possible deal with the United States.

   The 2004 disarmament of Libya is seen by Pyongyang as a deeply provocative 
comparison because Libyan autocrat Moammar Gadhafi was killed following 
U.S.-supported military action in his country seven years after giving up a 
rudimentary nuclear program that was far less advanced than North Korea's.

   Trump on Wednesday said Bolton's comments set the United States back "very 
badly" in talks with the North. He said, "maybe a new method would be very 
good."

   Kim said he wasn't exactly sure what Trump meant by a "new method" but 
assumed that he was implying a "step-by-step solution starting with the things 
feasible first while building trust in each other would be the best option."

   Nuclear negotiations have stalled for months following the February summit 
between Kim and Trump in Vietnam, which broke down after the U.S. side rejected 
North Korean demands for broad sanctions relief in exchange for a piecemeal 
deal toward partially surrendering its nuclear capabilities.

   The North has demonstrated its displeasure with belligerent rhetoric and a 
slew of short-range weapons tests that were seen as an attempt to gain leverage 
ahead of negotiations.

   While the timing of Bolton's firing could be convenient for talks, experts 
say the departure of one adviser wouldn't dramatically alter U.S. policy. The 
Trump administration has said sanctions and pressure will be maintained until 
North Korea takes concrete steps toward fully relinquishing its nuclear program.


(KR)

 
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