United Nations envoy gets North Korean foreign minister's "enthusiastic welcome"

U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron participate in an elephant walk during Exercise VIGILANT ACE 18 at Osan Air Base Republic of Korea Dec. 3 2017

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North Korea is reportedly open to direct talks with the USA over its nuclear ambitions, according to Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, who delivered his message to United States secretary of state, Rex Tillerson during their meeting in Vienna on Thursday.

"I would give an enthusiastic welcome to your Pyongyang visit", Ri, North Korea's former top nuclear negotiator who became foreign minister a year ago, told U.N. Undersecretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman.

"In Washington, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman said the Trump administration still wanted a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the nuclear and missile threat from Pyongyang but said: "(North Korea) has shown through its actions that it is not interested in talks.

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North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency only reported Ri met with Feltman, without providing any information about what they discussed.

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said the Guam-based bomber simulated land strikes at a military field near South Korea's eastern coast during a drill with US and South Korean fighter jets. He is the most senior United Nations official to visit North Korea in more than six years.

Feltman was expected to leave Pyongyang on a North Korean Air Koryo passenger jet to land in Beijing on Saturday.

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This alleged readiness for talks comes at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and North Korea.

North Korea's official news agency on Wednesday quoted an unnamed Foreign Ministry spokesman strongly criticizing senior US administration officials' "bellicose remarks" and the ongoing military exercises.

In comments attributed to an unnamed Foreign Ministry spokesman, North Korea also claimed high-ranked USA officials, including CIA Director Mike Pompeo, have further confirmed American intent for war with a series of "bellicose remarks".

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Haley said that with the missile launch, North Korean leader Kim has made a choice "that brings the world closer to war, not farther from it".

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