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South Korea Says North Likely Seeking Talks

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South Korea said on Tuesday that North Korea would look to negotiate with the United States in the coming year.

The prediction came as North Korea called the latest U.S.-led sanctions an “act of war.”

Last week, the U.N. Security Council unanimously placed new, tougher sanctions on North Korea for its intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, test on November 29. North Korea said the test showed its missile could reach all of the U.S. mainland.

“North Korea will seek negotiation with the United States, while continuing to pursue its effort to be recognized as a de facto nuclear-possessing country,” South Korea’s Unification Ministry said in a report. The agency responsible for relations with North Korea, however, did not provide additional information.

U.S. diplomats have said they are seeking a diplomatic answer to increased military tensions on the Korean Peninsula. However, U.S. President Donald Trump has called diplomatic efforts useless. He said North Korea must give up its nuclear weapons before talks can begin.

Trucks move across the bridge linking North Korea with the Chinese border city of Dandong in this March 3, 2016 file photo.
Trucks move across the bridge linking North Korea with the Chinese border city of Dandong in this March 3, 2016 file photo.

China, the North’s major ally, and Russia both supported the latest U.N. sanctions. The measures seek to limit the North’s oil supply and earnings from its workers in other countries.

On Tuesday, China released information showing that China exported no oil products to North Korea and imported no iron ore, coal or lead from North Korea in November.

In its 2018 forecast, South Korea said it believed the North would find ways to deal with the effects of the U.N. sanctions.

The Joongang Ilbo Daily newspaper reported on Tuesday that North Korea could also be preparing to launch a satellite into space. The report came from an unnamed South Korean government official.

Experts have said such launches are likely aimed at developing the North’s ballistic missile technology which would be banned under U.N. resolutions.

The North’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper said on Monday that “peaceful space development is a legitimate right of a sovereign state.”

I’m Jonathan Evans.

Hai Do adapted this story for VOA Learning English from a Reuters Story by Hae Jin Choi. Mario Ritter was the editor.

Words in This Story

prediction –n. an idea of what might happen in the future

pursue –v. to seek, to continue an effort

sanctions –n. measures against a country meant to cause it to obey international law usually by limiting trade

de facto –expression (foreign) something that exists but is not officially recognized

forecast –n. a report on what someone thinks will happen in the future

sovereign –adj. having the right and power to govern itself

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