US "open to direct talks" with N. Korea over nuclear tests

US "open to direct talks" with N. Korea over nuclear tests
By Tokunbo Salako  with REUTERS

Washington says it must also be prepared for the worst in case diplomacy fails with Pyongyang

The United States says it’s open to having direct talks with North Korea over its atomic weapons and missile tests.

Speaking during a visit to Japan to meet his counterpart, the US Deputy Secretary of State John J Sullivan said Washington hasn’t ruled out the possibility.

It comes after Pyongyang warned that nuclear war might break out at any moment.

“Eventually we don’t rule out the possibility, of course, of direct talks, but our focus now is on diplomacy and that diplomacy is principally the pressure campaign,” said Sullivan. “We must, however with our allies in Japan and South Korea and elsewhere, be prepared for the worst should diplomacy fail.”

Washington and its ally Japan have been reluctant to sit down at the table while Pyongyang continues to pursue a goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of
hitting the United States.

US President Donald Trump is expected to visit the region next month amid rising concerns over North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests.