White House says comments by N.Korea's Kim are 'interesting signal'


FILE PHOTO: White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan delivers remarks during a press briefing inside the White House in Washington, U.S., February 4, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photo

(Reuters) -The United States said on Sunday it saw as an "interesting signal" North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's comments that he is ready for "dialogue and confrontation," but added that Washington was still waiting for direct communication from Pyongyang to start any talks relating to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

In his first direct comments on U.S. President Joe Biden's administration, Kim urged preparation for both dialogue and confrontation with the United States, particularly the latter, state news agency KCNA said on Friday.

Speaking in an interview with ABC News, U.S. National Security adviser Jake Sullivan said Washington would still need a direct and clear response from Pyongyang expressing its willingness for talks.

"His comments this week we regard as an interesting signal and we will wait to see whether they are followed up with any kind of more direct communication to us about a potential path forward," Sullivan said. "The clear signal they could send is to say 'yes, let's do it. Let's sit down and begin negotiations.'"

Kim's remarks came two days before the newly appointed U.S. envoy for North Korea, Sung Kim, was set to arrive in South Korea on his first visit since taking up the role last month.

He will hold talks with South Korean and Japanese counterparts and meet other Seoul officials during his stay until June 23, the State Department said on Thursday.

North Korea lashed out at the United States and its ally, South Korea, last month, saying Washington's comments on its North Korean policy were proof of a hostile approach that required a corresponding response from Pyongyang.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe and Humeyra Pamuk in WashingtonEditing by Daniel Wallis and Matthew Lewis)

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