U.S. is open to credible and authentic engagement with North Korea

The U.S. is still open to authentic and credible talks with North Korea, a U.S. State Department official said on Thursday.

James Zumwalt, the deputy assistant secretary of the department's Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, made the remarks on Thursday in Tokyo. Zumwalt made the statement in relation to the future of U.S. engagement with North Korea. He said the U.S. would like to engage with North Korea based on the existing agreements between the two countries.

"Concerning the U.S. engagement with North Korea, we remain open to authentic and credible talks with North Korea, and what that means is we very much would like to engage on the basis of our existing agreements, which would lead to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," Zumwalt said.

While Zumwalt said he did not want to speak for North Korea, he said he hoped North Korea would choose its people over nuclear weapons.

"I don't want to speak for North Korea but we certainly hope that North Korea will make a choice prioritizing the welfare of North Korean people and if they do so, I think it's the basis for us to have a good talks with them," Zumwalt said. "I hesitate to speculate on their motives or their intentions, but we very much do want to convey the message that we are open to talks but they have to be authentic and credible talks based on our existing agreements."