North Korea’s foreign ministry issued a statement on Thursday criticizing the U.S. for attempting to maintain pressure on the DPRK and engaging in practices it says were tried by previous administrations without success.
The statement, published by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), is very much in the same vein as other public messages issued by the government and its representatives this week.
North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong Ho, speaking in Singapore on Saturday, categorized America’s behavior towards the country since the U.S.-DPRK summit as alarming, with multiple subsequent state media edicts blaming the U.S.’ maintenance of sanctions for a halt in diplomatic progress.
“As long as the U.S. denies even the basic decorum for its dialogue partner and clings to the outdated acting script which the previous administrations have all tried and failed, one cannot expect any progress in the implementation of the DPRK-U.S. joint statement including the denuclearization,” Thursday’s statement read.
“Furthermore, there is no guarantee that the hard-won atmosphere of stability on the Korean Peninsula will continue,” it added.
As with previous messaging this week, the statement refers to what North Korea called “goodwill measures” recently enacted by the country, including the discontinuation of nuclear and ballistic missile tests, the claimed “dismantlement” of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site and, later in the piece, the return of POW/MIA remains.
It then frames recent U.S. actions as contrary to this spirit, reporting that Wahington had instead “insisted on its unilateral demand of ‘denuclearization first’ at the first DPRK-U.S. high-level talks held in Pyongyang in early July”.
“We hoped that these goodwill measures would contribute to breaking down the high barrier of mistrust existing between the DPRK and the U.S. and to establishing mutual trust. However, the U.S. responded to our expectation by inciting international sanctions and pressure against the DPRK,” Thursday’s statement read.
“The U.S. is attempting to invent a pretext for increased sanctions against the DPRK by mobilizing all their servile mouthpieces and intelligence institutions to fabricate all kinds of falsehoods on our nuclear issue,” it added.
The statement is likely referring to multiple recent reports indicating that North Korea is continuing to develop its WMD programs. This includes reports of ongoing uranium enrichment activities and ongoing ballistic missile production.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, also told a Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on July 26 that North Korea is continuing to produce fissile material.
According to Reuters on Saturday, a recent unreleased UN report similarly concluded that North Korea has not stopped its nuclear missile program.
The foreign ministry goes on to cite specific sanctions issues, including the publication of a sanctions advisory notice by several U.S. government departments, warning entities of legal restrictions and risks involving North Korean labor and goods within global supply chains.
Additionally, the ministry called the U.S. blocking of exemptions for sanctions preventing the transfer of sporting goods to the DPRK as “highly despicable”. It repeated a claim that the U.S. is also urging countries not to attend North Korea’s 70th founding anniversary to be held in September.
“We remain unchanged in our will to uphold the intentions of the top leaders of the DPRK and the U.S. and to build trust and implement in good faith the DPRK-U.S. joint statement step by step. The U.S. should, even at this belated time, respond to our sincere efforts in a corresponding manner,” the statement concluded.
The statement continues a public back and forth between North Korea and the U.S. this week with Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley all issuing statements countering North Korea’s narrative.
In Singapore on Sunday, Pompeo said the U.S. was still waiting on North Korea to deliver on its commitment to denuclearize. Two days later on August 7, Bolton echoed Pompeo’s comments, telling Fox News that North Korea has not taken steps towards denuclearization.
“What we really need is not more rhetoric. What we need is performance from North Korea on denuclearization,” Bolton said.
During a trip to Colombia on Wednesday, Haley said Washington would not wait indefinitely for North Korea to make progress on denuclearization.
“This is all in North Korea’s court… They have to understand that the international community still expects them to denuclearize and so we’re willing to wait if they want to wait, but we’re not willing to wait for too long,” Haley said in comments carried by Reuters.
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Featured Image: Kim Il-sung Square. Pyongyang, North Korea. by (stephan) on 2008-06-09 15:42:37