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North Korea’s chief negotiator welcomes Trump’s call for new approach to talks

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — North Korea’s chief nuclear negotiator on Friday welcomed US President Donald Trump’s proposal to use a “new approach” in talks on Pyongyang’s weapons programs.

Kim Myung-gil praised Trump’s “wise political decision” to seek a new approach to the pending talks without a “problematic” administration, apparently referring to national security adviser John Bolton who was sacked last week. Bolton was a hawk of US foreign policy.

Trump’s efforts to reach out to North Korea almost collapsed in February after he followed Bolton’s advice at a second summit in Hanoi and handed Kim a paper calling on Pyongyang to transfer nuclear weapons and fuel for bombs to the United States.

The North denounced Bolton, who was promoting the use of military force to overthrow the isolated country, calling him a “war fool” and a “human scum”.

Trump said Bolton had made mistakes, including insulting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, by demanding he follow the “Libyan model” and hand over all his nuclear weapons.

Trump said on Wednesday the Libyan model proposal “caused a major setback for us” as his diplomatic efforts with the North resulted in a freeze on nuclear tests and the return of the remains of US soldiers missing in the 1950-53 Korean War.

Kim, the chief negotiator, said he wanted to be “optimistic” that the United States would “calculate it in the right way in future talks.”

“At the moment I am not quite sure what he meant by proposing a new approach,” he said in a statement released by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

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