U.S. not enthusiastic yet about N. Korea's dialogue offer

Lee Chi-dong

WASHINGTON, June 16 (Yonhap) -- The White House said Sunday North Korea should prove its seriousness about dialogue through actions, "not nice words," effectively turning down the communist nation's offer of immediate bilateral negotiations.

"Those talks have to be real. They have to be based on them living up to their obligations, to include on proliferation, on nuclear weapons, on smuggling and other things," Denis McDonough, President Barack Obama's chief of staff said.

"So we'll judge them by their actions, not by the nice words that we heard," he told the "Face the Nation," a CBS talk show.

He was referring to a statement by North Korea's National Defense Commission proposing high-level talks with the U.S.

Pyongyang's sudden offer was in line with its recent charm offensive following months of provocations and military threats. The North sought high-level dialogue with the South but the two sides failed to arrange it amid disputes over the rank of top delegates.

McDonough indicated that Washington views Pyongyang's overtures as aimed at avoiding economic sanctions.

"I will say that the bottom line is they're not going to be able to talk their way out of the very significant sanctions they're under now," he stressed.

Earlier, White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the U.S. wants to have "credible negotiations" with North Korea for the ultimate goal of denuclearizing it.

"We have always favored dialogue and, in fact, have open lines of communication with the DPRK (North Korea)," she said in an emailed statement.

"But those talks must involve North Korea living up to its obligations to the world, including compliance with UN Security Council Resolutions, and ultimately result in denuclearization," Hayden added.

A senior U.S. government official, meanwhile, said the U.S. will discuss the matter with South Korea and Japan when their top diplomats handling the North Korea issue meet in Washington later this week.

"We will be meeting with our Japanese and South Korean partners in a trilateral setting and this will be one of the subjects for discussion," the official said on the condition of anonymity.

Cho Tae-yong, South Korea's special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, is scheduled to visit Washington from Tuesday through Thursday.

On Wednesday, he plans to hold a trilateral meeting with his American and Japanese counterparts _ Glyn Davies and Shinsuke Sugiyama.

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