10:45 GMT19 June 2021
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    While tensions between North Korea and the US are far from over, there is still a glimmer of hope that the conflict might be resolved in a diplomatic way.

    There could be a chance for negotiations between the US and North Korea when Pyongyang stops testing nuclear weapons and suspends the development of its nuclear and missile programs, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said on Thursday.

    "So long as they stop testing, stop developing, they don't export their weapons, there would be opportunity for talks," Mattis told journalists.

    Mattis' statement comes after US President Donald Trump delivered a speech in the South Korean Parliament, in which he called on all countries to ensure Pyongyang's international isolation and urged Russia and China to cut diplomatic and economic ties with North Korea, adding that Washington would not allow Pyongyang to possess nuclear weapons.

    After Trump's return from his 12-day tour of Asia, Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party, issued a statement calling the American president "no more than an old slave of money" and sentenced him "to death."

    While the rhetoric between the US and North Korean leaders has become increasingly harsh, Pentagon chief James Mattis and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson still believe that the conflict might be resolved by diplomatic means.

    Earlier, Mattis said at a meeting with the US Army that it should stand ready for a military option, however, emphasized that Washington prefered to stick to diplomatic means to solve the crisis on the Korean Peninsula.

    The statement was echoed by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who said that the US would rely on negotiations "until the first bomb drops."


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    nuclear test, confrontation, conflict, diplomacy, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), US
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