December 15, 2017 / 4:13 AM / 5 months ago

U.S. North Korea negotiator says direct diplomacy needed

BANGKOK, Dec 15 (Reuters) - The chief U.S. negotiator for North Korea said on Friday the United States should engage in direct diplomacy with Pyongyang alongside sanctions imposed over its nuclear programme.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered on Tuesday to begin direct talks with North Korea without pre-conditions, but the White House later said no negotiations could be held until North Korea improved its behaviour.

“We should exercise direct diplomacy as well as sanctions. That is our policy which is based on pressure and engagement and we do want to engage in pressure and diplomacy,” Joseph Yun, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy, told reporters in Bangkok.

Yun travelled to Japan and Thailand this week to meet with officials to discuss ways to build pressure on North Korea after its latest ballistic missile test. (Reporting by Amy Lefevre; Editing by Michael Perry)

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