US- North Korea talks unlikely because Kim Jong-UN is ‘irrational’ says UN ambassador’

As regional tensions soar after North Korea's provocative missile tests, the US ambassador to the UN says Kim Jong-un is unlikely to respond to diplomatic efforts.

US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley,  addresses a news conference after the UN  Security Council discussed North Korea on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Richard Drew / AP
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NEW YORK // The United States on Wednesday voiced scepticism about calls for talks with North Korea, saying leader Kim Jong-UN was behaving irrationally and was unlikely to respond to diplomatic advances.

“We are not dealing with a rational person,” US Ambassador Nikki Haley said following a closed session of the Security Council to discuss North Korea’s latest missile launches.

She dismissed China’s call for a return to negotiations. “If this were any other country, we would be talking about that and it wouldn’t be an issue,” she said.

Without naming him, she described the North Korean leader as “ a person who has not had rational acts, who is not thinking clearly,” adding,

The UN Security Council met behind closed doors to discuss next steps in addressing North Korea’s missile launches after Pyongyang said the latest tests were for a possible strike on US bases in Japan.

North Korea fired at least four missiles toward Japan on Monday, three of which came down in waters within Japan’s exclusive economic zone, saying they were tests for a possible strike on US bases in Japan.

The US ambassador said “all the options are on the table” and did not rule out talks completely but she made clear that the onus was on North Korea to show a willingness to seek a diplomatic solution.

“We have to see some sort of positive action taken by North Korea before we can ever take them seriously,” said Ms Haley.

China, Pyongyang’s main ally, earlier called on North Korea to suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the US and South Korea halting joint military exercises in South Korea. Foreign minister Wang Yi said North Korea and the United States were like two trains racing towards each other.

“The two sides are like two accelerating trains coming toward each other with neither side willing to give way. The question is: are the two sides really ready for a head-on collision? Our priority now is to flash the red light and apply the brakes on both trains,” he said.

The security council has imposed six sets of sanctions on North Korea — two of which were adopted last year to significantly ramp up measures and deny Mr Kim’s regime hard currency revenue. But the Chinese proposal mirrors past North Korean offers that were rejected by the US, which said Pyongyang had no right to demand concessions in return for abiding by UN resolutions.

Since North Korea missile launches, US president Donald Trump has reiterated Washington’s “ironclad commitment” to Japanese and South Korean security and threatened “very dire consequences” for Pyongyang.

* Agence France-Presse

* Agence France-Presse