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White House Says Yet to See if North Korea Willing to Denuclearize

© AP Photo / Wong Maye-EIn this Feb. 15, 2016 file photo, a visitor at a flower festival walks past a model of North Korea's newest satellite Kwangmyongsong 4 on display
In this Feb. 15, 2016 file photo, a visitor at a flower festival walks past a model of North Korea's newest satellite Kwangmyongsong 4 on display - Sputnik International
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States has yet to see if North Korea's statement that it is ready to hold talks with Washington is a "first step" to removing nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula, and pressure on Pyongyang must continue in the meanwhile, the White House said in a statement Sunday.

"We will see if Pyongyang’s message today, that it is willing to hold talks, represents the first steps along the path to denuclearization. In the meantime, the United States and the world must continue to make clear that North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs are a dead end," the statement read.

READ MORE: Pyongyang Vows to Regard Any Maritime Blockade as an Act of War

The White House stressed the existence of a broad agreement in the international community that denuclearization "must be the result of any dialogue with North Korea."

"The maximum pressure campaign must continue until North Korea denuclearizes. As [US] President [Donald] Trump has said, there is a brighter path available for North Korea if it chooses denuclearization," the statement noted.

(File) A North Korean delegation of 32 people, including 10 athletes of North Korean Olympic team, arrives at the Gangneung Olympic Village of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games 2018, in Gangneung, South Korea, February 1, 2018 - Sputnik International
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The statement comes as a response to North Korea's delegation's remarks made at a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in earlier in the day that Pyongyang was ready to hold talks with Washington.

On Friday, the United States imposed what Trump described as the "largest-ever" sanctions package on North Korea, targeting shipments of petroleum and coal. They would concern 27 transport companies, 28 ships and one person.

READ MORE: China Opposes US Korea-Related Sanctions, Urges Washington Not to Harm Relations

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