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US only seeks 'peaceful' denuclearization of Korean Peninsula: State Dept.

April 22, 2022 - 09:28 By Yonhap
US Department of State Press Secretary Ned Price is seen answering a question in a press briefing at the department in Washington on Thursday in this image captured from the department's website. (US Department of State)

WASHINGTON -- The United States is seeking to completely denuclearize the Korean Peninsula but only through dialogue and diplomacy, a Department of State spokesperson said Thursday.

Ned Price, however, reiterated that the US will continue to hold the North to account over its recent missile provocations.

"Our goal is to achieve that ultimate objective -- the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula -- through diplomacy and dialogue. That is what we have consistently put forward," the department spokesperson said in a press briefing.

His remarks come after US Special Representative for the DPRK Sung Kim reportedly said that the US will mobilize all means necessary to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula during his ongoing visit to Seoul.

"We have consistently made clear that we are ready, we're prepared to engage with the DPRK in good faith without any hostile intent to make progress towards that ultimate goal," Price said when asked if all means necessary included military actions, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The spokesperson added Pyongyang remains unresponsive to US overtures for dialogue.

North Korea has avoided denuclearization talks with the US since late 2019.

Price said the US will continue to work with key allies, including South Korea and Japan, to bring North Korea back to the dialogue table, but that it will also work to hold North Korea accountable for its recent missile provocations.

"The fact is that the recent provocations, including the two ICBM launches, violated multiple UN Security Council resolutions and these programs -- North Korea's nuclear weapons and its ballistic missile program -- these are a threat to international peace and security," he said.

The US has said it will introduce a new UN Security Council resolution on North Korea to hold it accountable for its recent missile launches.

"And we will continue to work with our allies and partners at the UN to impose additional costs as necessary," said Price.

The department spokesperson also emphasized the importance of cooperation between South Korea and Japan in dealing with regional and global issues.

"We have long encouraged Japan and the ROK to work together on history-related issues in a way that promotes healing and reconciliation," he said, when asked about the issues of forced labor and Korean women sexually enslaved by Japan during Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule of Korea that have long been a source of dispute between the two US allies.

"Even while they are addressing sensitive historical issues, we are moving forward to embrace opportunities to advance our common regional and international priorities," added Price.

His remarks come after South Korea's foreign minister nominee, Rep. Park Jin, said the incoming Yoon Suk-yeol administration will continue to recognize the 2015 agreement between Seoul and Tokyo to settle the issue of comfort women as an official agreement, and that the countries should continue to work together to help restore the honor and dignity of those victims. (Yonhap)