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View more articles by Dagyum Ji
Dagyum Ji is a senior NK News correspondent based in Seoul. She previously worked for Reuters TV.
North Korean state-run outlet the DPRK Today on Monday accused the United Nations Command (UNC) of acting as an “obstacle” to the improvement of inter-Korean relations and for interfering in the implementation of a September North-South military agreement.
In a commentary, the DPRK Today said U.S. had contrived a plan to intervene in the implementation of the inter-Korean military agreement — signed as an annex to the Pyongyang Joint Declaration — through the UNC.
The U.S., the outlet said, had “bluntly put the brakes on the advancement of North-South relations in recent times.”
Citing an purported meeting between the United Nations Command and South Korean government officials, the DPRK Today claimed UNC was responsible for a “violent infringement of the right to self-determination of our nation.”
The UNC, which has expressed its support for the ROK-DPRK military agreement, was also denounced by the North Korean outlet for attempting to “meddle in the implementation” of the deal.
“The ‘United Nations Command’ now becomes rather an obstacle to the improvement of inter-Korean relations for the alleviation of the situation on the Korean peninsula as well as reconciliation and cooperation between the North and the South,” DPRK Today said.
In accordance with the inter-Korean military agreement, the UNC and the two Koreas have pushed ahead with the demilitarization of the Joint Security Area (JSA) in Panmunjom, holding regular meetings through a trilateral consultative body.
“The U.S. interventions in inter-Korean relations on the path toward peace and prosperity… making fraudulent use of the signboard of ‘UN,’ is anti-human and barbarian behavior,” the DPRK Today said.
“The U.S. should not meddle in the internal issues of our nation any more under the ‘UN’ sign,” it continued, citing the UNC’s decision in August to disallow South Korean trains from crossing the military demarcation line (MDL) to conduct a joint on-site survey of sections of track to be used in future rail cooperation.
Newly-appointed commander of United States Forces Korea (USFK) Robert Abrams was also criticized for comments made at a confirmation hearing by the Senate Armed Services Committee in September, where he said all activities concerning the demilitarized zone (DMZ) were under the “purview of UN Command.”
In a separate commentary on Monday the DPRK Today described the U.S. as a “unreliable country,” warning the Trump administration that military pressure would not increase its bargaining power.
“DPRK-U.S. negotiations have reached a deadlock,” the North Korean media said in a commentary asking “can we trust the U.S.?”
The outlet denounced several top American military officials, including U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Joseph Dunford, and Commander of the United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) John E. Hyten.
The North Korean media said Washington made an attempt to pressure Pyongyang by staging joint drills with Tokyo – a likely reference to this month’s Keen Sword 2019 drills.
“The U.S. movement stems from the U.S. medieval way of thinking that the barbarian way of threatening and compelling a counterpart can increases bargaining power,” DPRK Today said.
“But the U.S. must realize once again that this nonphysical and illogical formula… does not work for us.”
The Trump administration was denounced for losing the goals made at the first summit between the U.S. and North Korean leaders and “getting derailed from a basic theme, which is the improvement of the DPRK-U.S. relations and peace.”
“The U.S. is now… driving the train into a branch line… to achieve ‘denuclearization through maximum pressure,’” the DPRK Today said.
The North Korean media also criticized Washington for supporting the improvement of relations while “clamoring for ‘pressure’” without “waking up from hibernation of hostility.”
“When we engaged in dialogue with the U.S. in the past was the period when our national power erupted frightfully and military strength stepped up, but it was not the time when someone’s pressure became severe,” it said.
“Various facts clearly show that the U.S. is the unreliable country and main instigator of destroying the world peace.”
Mattis was particularly criticized comments made at a joint news conference last month, when he said the U.S. military’s goal was to ensure the country’s diplomats speak to the North from a “position of strength.”
Sunday saw DPRK Today also publish an article criticizing the joint military drills between Tokyo and Washington and test launch earlier in the month of the LGM-30 Minuteman III ICBM.
The North Korean outlet said U.S. behavior and remarks were an “anti-peace crime which pours cold water… on alleviating the situation on the Korean peninsula and creating an obstacle in the DPRK-U.S. negotiations.”
“It’s too clear who will get damaged if there is no more progress in the DPRK-U.S. relations because of the U.S.’s dual-faced attitude.”
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: UNC