North Korea Wednesday rejected an offer from South Korea on the same day a U.S. diplomat invited the North back to the nuclear bargaining table.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak proposed a normalization of relations between the two countries that share the Korean peninsula. The North rejected it, saying Lee was trying to stand in the way of settling the nuclear issue between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United States, Korea Times reported.
At the same time, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said the United States is willing to hold direct talks with the North, asking Pyongyang to come back to the international nuclear disarmament talks, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency said.
Steinberg said the United States is prepared to have bilateral engagement if that would bring North Korea back to the six-party talks.
“I think there is a tremendous opportunity now for them to take a constructive measure,” he said. “They’ve certainly given some indication that they understand the value of re-engagement and we would like to see them take advantage of it.”