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North Korea says U.S. nuclear talks set to resume this week

The two sides haven't met since talks abruptly collapsed in February.
Image: President Donald Trump meets with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un at the start of their US-North Korea summit
President Donald Trump meets with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un at the start of their U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018.Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images file

North Korea has announced that talks on its nuclear program will resume with the U.S. on Saturday, months after negotiations collapsed over what Pyongyang called unreasonable American demands.

The U.S. has confirmed that a meeting between the two sides will take place in the next seven days.

"The DPRK and the U.S. agreed to have preliminary contact on Oct. 4 and hold working-level negotiations on Oct. 5.," Choe Son Hui, the regime's first vice-minister of foreign affairs, said in a statement, using the country's full title of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"The delegates of the DPRK side are ready to enter into the DPRK-U.S. working-level negotiations," he said. "It is my expectation that the working-level negotiations would accelerate the positive development of the DPRK-U.S. relations."

The statement, released by the official Korean Central News Agency, didn't say where the meeting would take place nor who would attend.

“I can confirm that U.S. and DPRK officials plan to meet within the next week. I do not have further details to share on the meeting,” said State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus.

The two sides haven't met since February, and North Korea had indicated it would not meet unless a demand for unilateral disarmament was ruled out.

Last month, North Korean diplomat Kim Myong Gil welcomed President Donald Trump's decision to fire his then-national security security adviser, John Bolton.

Kim was responding to Trump's suggestion that "a new method" in the talks could be sought after Bolton's departure.

On Monday in his first public remarks since his contentious departure from the White House, Bolton made clear that he opposed Trump’s approach to North Korea.

Bolton said Kim has no intention of giving up his nuclear weapons — which Trump has insisted he will as part of their one-on-one negotiations.

“Under current circumstances he will never give up the nuclear weapons voluntarily,” he said during an appearance at a forum on U.S.-Korea policy at the Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic International Studies.