U.S. urges N. Korea to engage in dialogue amid reports of possible nuclear test

The U.S. on Friday called on North Korea to refrain from further provocations and instead return to dialogue.

Jalina Porter, principal deputy spokesperson for the state department, made the remarks amid speculations that the North may be preparing to conduct its first nuclear test since September 2017, possibly next week when it will celebrate the 110th anniversary of the birthday of late founding leader Kim Il-sung.

"The Biden-Harris administration has no change in our policy and we continue to urge the DPRK to refrain from further destabilizing activities, and ... instead choose to engage in serious and sustained dialogue," she said, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The spokesperson was responding to a question whether there has been a change in the U.S.' North Korea policy after Philip Goldberg, nominee for new U.S. ambassador to South Korea, said the U.S. must push for comprehensive, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization (CVID) of the North.

The term, CVID, had often been used under previous U.S. administrations, but with the letter C standing for complete, instead of comprehensive.

Pyongyang had often strongly reacted to the term in the past, and the Joe Biden administration has been describing its objective as the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula instead since taking office early last year.

North Korea, however, remains unresponsive to U.S. overtures, while being increasingly engaged in provocations.

The country has staged 12 rounds of missile launches so far this year, including seven rounds in January alone that marked the largest number of missile tests it conducted in a single month.

Recent reports said the North also appeared to be repairing underground tunnels at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, indicating a possible nuclear test down the road.

Source: Yonhap News Agency