South Korean diplomat pessimistic about North

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South Korean diplomat pessimistic about North

A senior South Korean diplomat to the United Nations on Monday cautioned against hasty optimism over negotiations with North Korea despite the resumption of talks after years of stalemate.

The official, speaking to reporters on the condition of anonymity, said the North seems to be seeking dialogue in a bid to achieve nuclear power status, win international recognition of its hereditary power transition and obtain investment or economic assistance.

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me,” he said, using an English saying to describe the North’s past records of reneging on deals with dialogue partners.

“We have been disappointed and frustrated. We should not repeat that,” he added.

His caution came as North Korea and the United States conducted two days of high-level talks in New York last week, which both sides said were “constructive.”

The first formal dialogue between the two nations in 19 months followed a rare inter-Korean dialogue a week earlier in Indonesia, on the margins of a regional security forum.

The official said he expects the North to use a typical tactic to draw a line between talks with the U.S. and relations with South Korea to maximize its gains.

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