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White House: conditions for North Korea talks 'far away'

July 17 (UPI) — White House press secretary Sean Spicer said conditions for talks with North Korea are not present in response to a question posed Monday regarding South Korean proposals for talks with the North.

Spicer was fielding a question from the White House press corps, regarding Seoul’s offer of talks to Pyongyang, and how President Donald Trump views the offer.

The White House spokesman said the questions should be referred back to the Korean government, then added, “That being said, I think the president has made clear in the past with respect that any type of conditions that would have to be met are clearly far away from where we are now.”

Earlier on Monday South Korean Vice Defense Minister Seo Joo-seok announced plans for talks between the two armies, a move that could help “stop all hostile actions which heightens military tensions at the border.”

The talks, to be held July 21, do not mean Seoul is easing pressure on Pyongyang.

Voice of America reported South Korea sees the proposals as part of President Moon Jae-in’s dual track policy to support U.S.-led sanctions, while pursuing engagement that incentivize North Korea to suspend some of its provocations.

“There is no change in our position that we will put forth effort to [persuade] North Korea to come out for denuclearization by using all possible measures such as sanctions and talks,” Seoul’s newly appointed unification minister said.

The State Department’s East Asia-Pacific spokeswoman, Katina Adams, declined to comment on the proposed Korea military talks, Yonhap reported.

In a separate statement, the South Korean Red Cross called for reunions of separated family members.

The reunions of families divided after the 1950-53 Korean War was last held in October 2015.

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