US reaches out to North Korea, seeks dialogue

March 7th, 2009 - 6:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Seoul, March 7 (DPA) The US Saturday reached out to North Korea, saying it wanted a dialogue despite a series of threats the North has made against South Korea, a close ally of Washington.
“We are reaching out now,” US envoy Stephen Bosworth said upon his arrival in South Korea. “We want a dialogue.”

At the same time, he called on North Korea to halt its preparations for what the US and South Korea say is the test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

“Everyone would be much happier if they would drop that line of rhetoric,” Bosworth told reporters on the third and final stop of an Asian tour after he visited Japan and China.

His arrival in South Korea came two days after North Korea indirectly threatened South Korean civilian aircraft, saying it could no longer guarantee their safety in or near its airspace, causing airlines to reroute their flights.

“I don’t think the warning was very helpful,” said Bosworth, who was making his first trip to the region after being named US President Barack Obama’s special envoy on North Korean policy.

The latest warning from Pyongyang came after North Korea repeatedly threatened the South this year with destruction, accusing it of engaging in a confrontational inter- Korean policy.

South Korea has said its neighbour has also been preparing for weeks for testing a Taepodong-2 missile that is potentially capable of reaching the western US coast and carrying a nuclear warhead.

A missile launch would be “very ill-advised”, said Bosworth, a former US ambassador to South Korea.

North Korea has insisted it is preparing to launch a satellite, not a missile.

Meanwhile, one of North Korea’s few allies, China, Saturday called on Pyongyang to exercise restraint amid the rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

“We hope all parties do more that is conducive to peace and stability,” Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said in Beijing.

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