US envoy optimistic about N. Korea despite latest friction


The Trump administration’s special envoy for North Korea has expressed optimism about the diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear crisis a day after the North issued a surprisingly blunt statement saying it will never disarm unless the U.S. removes what it calls a nuclear threat.

Stephen Biegun says ahead of a meeting with South Korean officials on Friday the allies are committed to ending seven decades of hostility and creating a “new, brighter future for all of the Korean people.”

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He did not directly address the North Korean statement, which jarred with Seoul’s rosier presentation of the North Korean position and could potentially rattle the fragile diplomacy between Washington, Seoul and Pyongyang to defuse a nuclear crisis that last year had many fearing war.