North Korea says little reason to maintain Kim-Trump ties on summit anniversary

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Panmunjom, South Korea, June 30, 2019.

SEOUL: North Korea sees little use in maintaining a personal relationship between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump if Washington sticks to hostile policies, state media reported on Friday (Jun 12) on the two-year anniversary of the leaders’ first summit.

US policies prove Washington remains a long-term threat to the North Korean state and its people, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Son Gwon said in a statement.

Trump and Kim sat down in Singapore on Jun 12, 2018 – the first summit between leaders of the two countries.

A second summit in February 2019 in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi, failed to reach a deal because of conflicts over US calls for North Korea to completely give up its nuclear weapons, and North Korean demands for sanctions relief.

In a lengthy statement carried by the state Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Foreign Minister Ri Son Gwon said while people in both countries wanted peace, Washington was “hell-bent on only exacerbating the situation”.

“What stands out is that the hope for improved DPRK-US relations – which was high in the air under the global spotlight two years ago – has now been shifted into despair characterised by spiraling deterioration,” Ri said in the statement.

“Even a slim ray of optimism for peace and prosperity on the Korean peninsula has faded away into a dark nightmare.”

The foreign minister said the country had decided to bolster its national nuclear deterrent “to cope with the US unabated threats of nuclear war”.

Ri goes on to detail what he calls past decisions of “epoch-making resolve” by Pyongyang to improve ties including a moratorium on nuclear testing, the dismantling of the key Punggye-ri test site and the repatriation of the remains of US soldiers from the Korean War.

But on Jan 1 this year, Kim declared an end to the self-imposed test ban.

Pyongyang is subject to multiple UN Security Council sanctions over its banned weapons programmes, but has carried out a series of tests in recent months – often describing them as multiple launch rocket systems, although Japan and the United States have called them ballistic missiles.

“The US professes to be an advocate for improved relations with the DPRK, but in fact, it is hell-bent on only exacerbating the situation,” Ri said.

“As a result, the Korean peninsula has now turned into the world’s most dangerous hotspot haunted uninterruptedly by the ghost of nuclear war.”

“EMPTY PROMISE”

He accused the United States of using its claim of wanting to improve ties to mask a desire for “regime change”, and accused Trump specifically of not offering Pyongyang anything substantial.

“Never again will we provide the US chief executive with another package to be used for achievements without receiving any returns. Nothing is more hypocritical than an empty promise,” Ri said.

On Thursday North Korea criticised the United States for commenting on inter-Korean affairs, and said Washington should stay quiet if it wants the upcoming presidential election to go smoothly.

The US State Department did not respond to requests for comment, and the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Thursday, a State Department spokesperson told South Korea’s Yonhap news agency that the United States remains committed to dialogue with North Korea, and is open to a “flexible approach to reach a balanced agreement”.

Ri said North Korea’s desire to open a new cooperative era runs as deep as ever, but that the situation on the Korean peninsula is daily taking a turn for the worse.

“The US professes to be an advocate for improved relations with the DPRK, but in fact, it is hell-bent on only exacerbating the situation,” Ri said.

The official name of North Korea is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

North Korea will continue to build up its military forces to cope with the threats from the United States, Ri said.

Z24 News

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