"It's a big local problem but one which the locals can solve," Armstrong said on Wednesday. "If China — and to a lesser degree Russia — can act as guarantors, and the United States can keep out of it, some sort of initial settlement can be constructed which can, one hopes, lead to something longer term."
Armstrong said it was essential for the United States to back away from the talks and give both sides the freedom to try and find common ground as the basis for further negotiations.
Armstrong also said that regular US-South Korean military drills continually persuade the North Korean leader that his country needs nuclear weapons to defend against an invasion.
"Every year there is an exercise that convinces [Kim] all over again," Armstrong said.
The solution to the crisis on the peninsula can be found in China’s "double suspension" proposal, he claimed, wherein North Korea would stop its nuclear activity in exchange for Seoul and Washington ceasing military exercises.
Meanwhile, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said the United States will not recognize any possible talks between North and South Korea unless they result in a ban on nuclear weapons on the peninsula.