US envoy optimistic about N. Korea despite latest friction

  • U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun, right, talks with South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, left, during a meeting at the Unification Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. North Korea said Thursday it will never unilaterally give up its nuclear weapons unless the United States first removes what Pyongyang called a nuclear threat. (Kim Hong-Ji/Pool Photo via AP)

SEOUL, South Korea — The Trump administration’s special envoy for North Korea on Friday expressed optimism about the diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear crisis, a day after the North issued a surprisingly blunt statement saying it will never disarm unless the U.S. removes what it calls a nuclear threat.