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View more articles by Colin Zwirko
Colin Zwirko is an NK News correspondent based in Seoul.
The North Korean foreign ministry released a statement late Tuesday calling for the U.S. to take action in stalled denuclearization talks, saying Washington should consider the “correct strategic choice before it is too late.”
The statement carried by state outlet Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said “the fate of the June 12 DPRK-U.S. Joint Statement will not be promising if the U.S. fails to carry out its obligation and keeps resorting to anti-DPRK hostile policy.”
It appeared to once again call for the U.S. to make the first move amid the current stalemate, following a series of similar statements from the North’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in recent weeks.
Again signaling Pyongyang’s intention to wait out the U.S., the statement ended with a warning: “There is a limit to our patience.”
Last week, the Policy Research Director of the MFA’s Institute for American Studies (IAS) slammed a February subcritical nuclear test by the U.S. as a sign of bad faith in negotiations, and said they perceived “no change at all in the American evil ambition to conquer the DPRK by force.”
The week before, an MFA spokesperson blamed the U.S. for the breakdown in talks while declaring Pyongyang had already made “significant and meaningful measures” towards denuclearization worthy of corresponding concessions from Washington.
Tuesday’s statement continued to place blame on the U.S., and said the fate of the agreement depends on whether “the U.S. would respond to our fair and reasonable stand.”
Describing North Korea’s conduct in the almost-one-year since the June 12 Singapore agreement, the MFA spokesperson said Pyongyang maintains its “will to cherish and implement in good faith” that agreement.
The DPRK “has exerted ceaseless efforts over the past year to establish new” relations, and “also made every possible endeavor such as taking practical initiatives that require strategically decisive measures,” they said.
They complained, in turn, that the U.S. “has become ever more undisguised during the past year in its scheme to annihilate us by force while deliberately turning its face away from” implementing the agreement.
The MFA still perceives the U.S. position as “only insisting on our unilateral surrender of nuclear weapons,” and said U.S. negotiators “made the biggest mistake of having missed a lifetime opportunity” by walking away from the table in Hanoi.
It also called for “both sides give up their unilateral demands and find a constructive solution,” but added “it is requisite for the U.S. to fold its current method of calculation and approach us with a new one.”
The two sides remain at an impasse after disagreeing in Hanoi over terms of a trade involving the dismantling of nuclear facilities in exchange for sanctions relief, and after the U.S. later signaled it was committed to making a “big deal” which would only see sanctions relief after full denuclearization.
Last week, however, Trump signaled that he is committed to moving past North Korea’s early May missile tests in order to return to negotiations.
Next Wednesday will mark the one year anniversary of the June 12 U.S.-North Korea Joint Statement signed in Singapore.
Featured image: Rodong Sinmun