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U.S. defense secretary hopeful for diplomacy with North Korea

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on December 20, 2019 - Duration: 01:17s

U.S. defense secretary hopeful for diplomacy with North Korea

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper says he remains hopeful the United States can restart diplomatic relations with North Korea, as the clock ticks down to North Korea's declared year-end deadline to propose new concessions in talks over its nuclear arsenal.

Joe Davies reports.

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U.S. defense secretary hopeful for diplomacy with North Korea

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday (December 20) he remains hopeful the United States can restart diplomatic relations with North Korea.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY MARK ESPER SAYING: "Clearly, we think that the political solution is the best way forward to denuclearize the penisula and to address North Korea's programs. I have two functions here, as I have said before: one is to ensure that we are in a high state of readiness, prepared for--, to fight and win tonight, if need be.

And, I am confident in that.

And, secondly, to enable our diplomats.

So, I remain hopeful that we could, again, get the process started again and get--, remain on--, on the diplomatic path." The clock is ticking down on North Korea's self-declared year-end deadline to propose new concessions in talks over its nuclear arsenal.

Pyongyang has conducted a series of weapons tests and waged a war of words with U.S. President Donald Trump in recent weeks, stoking fears the two countries could return to a collision course.

Earlier this month, President Trump angered North Korean officials by suggesting the United States could use military force if it has to.

North Korea's army chief responded by saying that Pyongyang would take "prompt corresponding actions at any level." Next week, Chinese, South Korean and Japanese leaders are due to meet in China, with North Korea likely to top the agenda.

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