U.S. will not sit for long on nuke issue: Haley

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U.S. will not sit for long on nuke issue: Haley

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations pressed North Korea to take steps toward denuclearization on Wednesday, telling reporters during her visit to Colombia’s border with Venezuela that the United States is “not willing to wait for too long.”

“This is all in North Korea’s court,” Ambassador Nikki Haley said, according to Reuters. Pyongyang has “to understand that the international community still expects them to denuclearize, and so we’re willing to wait if they want to wait, but we’re not willing to wait for too long.”

Her remarks add to conflicting messages from the White House about its expectations for the North’s denuclearization, especially on the timeline, as talks between the two countries have reached an apparent impasse since the summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in June.

Trump has signaled that he is satisfied with the current progress, but his national security adviser, John Bolton, insists that North Korea has not lived up to the joint statement signed by the two leaders or taken necessary steps toward denuclearization.

On Wednesday, Vox exclusively reported that the Trump administration has presented North Korea with a formal timeline for starting denuclearization, but Pyongyang rejected this proposal several times.

Citing two people familiar with the negotiations, Vox reported that the United States presented a plan in which North Korea would hand over 60 to 70 percent of its nuclear warheads within six to eight months. The United States or a third country would take possession of the nuclear arsenal and remove them from North Korea, the sources told Vox.

In early July, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Pyongyang for the third time since April but appeared to make little progress toward fine-tuning details of denuclearization. Over the past two months, Pompeo has presented the White House’s plan to North Korean negotiates multiple times, Vox reported.

The U.S. State Department has yet to confirm the report.

Speaking to reporters in Colombia, Haley said that Pompeo delivered “solid” demands to the North and further reiterated that Washington would not ease sanctions on Pyongyang. The ambassador has spearheaded UN efforts to adopt tougher sanctions on North Korea. Last year, the Security Council passed its toughest measures yet to punish the North for its nuclear weapons and missile tests.

Haley acknowledged that denuclearization would be a “long process” that won’t “happen overnight,” in contrast to hard-liners’ position that it should happen within a year.

Speaking to business leaders on Wednesday, Trump also said his administration was “doing well” with North Korea and did not appear fazed about the current rate of progress.

“I think we have a lot of good talk going on,” Trump said at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. “Somebody said, ‘Well, wait a minute. Why isn’t it moving faster?’ They’ve been working on this thing for 40 years.”

He continued to cite North Korea’s return of three American detainees in May and no “missiles flying over Japan” or nuclear tests as results.

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]
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