U.S.: Deescalation of North Korean rhetoric positive but not enough

North Korea recently deescalated its rhetoric of nuclear threats, but compliance with obligations and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula are still the main U.S. policy goals, according to a press briefing on Tuesday.

Patrick Ventrell, the acting deputy spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, responded to questions on Tuesday about the recent lack of bluster and threats by North Korea. While Ventrell said the lack of tension is positive, it is not enough to meet the broader policy goals.

"We want the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," Ventrell said. "We want it done in a peaceful manner. And I will say that in terms of sort of deescalating the rhetoric, that's a good thing, but the broader policy goal still remains in place, which is the verifiable denuclearization of the entire peninsula. So, certainly, stopping some of the bluster and the rhetoric and the threats is a good thing, but more fundamentally, we need to get to a place where they're going to start coming in compliance with their international obligations."

When asked if there was any development toward the possibility of restarting talks with North Korea, Ventrell reiterated that North Korea must take steps to comply with international obligations.

"They know what they need to do in terms of starting to take steps to come in compliance with their international obligations, and as the Secretary (John Kerry) said, show a seriousness of purpose," Ventrell said. "And so one thing is to de-escalate the rhetoric, but there's a wider policy issue at interest here. And we certainly have been in close communication with the Chinese who have some special influence with the North Koreans and others, and we'll continue to do that as we pursue our broader policy goal."

Ventrell would not speculate as to what caused the reduction in rhetoric.

Secretary of State John Kerry recently visited the Asia-Pacific region and spoke with China specifically about North Korea.