North Korea says talks won’t resume till the US drops its “hostile coverage”.
Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader, attends a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam on Friday March 1, 2019.
Kham / Pool | Bloomberg | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – A senior North Korean official said Pyongyang would not respond to numerous invitations to resume nuclear discussions until the United States abandons “hostile policies”.
“We have already stated our position that contact and dialogue between the DPRK and the US will not be possible if the US does not reverse its hostile policy towards the DPRK,” said first deputy foreign minister, Choe Son Hui, according to a statement released on Thursday by the Korean State Central News Agency.
Choe added that the Biden administration contacted them in February and has since sent multiple emails, phone calls and messages through a third country. She described the contact attempts as a “cheap trick” to build public opinion.
The statement comes as Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin complete their first trip abroad under Biden’s leadership. The couple traveled to Japan and South Korea to reaffirm US commitments in the region and to discuss ongoing security challenges.
Simultaneously with the arrival of Blinken and Austin in Asia, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivered an eerie message to the United States.
“We take this opportunity to warn the new US administration that is trying to give something [gun] The smell of powder in our country, “Kim Yo Jong said in a statement referring to joint US and South Korean military exercises in the region.
“If it [the U.S.] wants to sleep in peace for the next four years, it should be better not to cause a smell at the first step, “she added, according to an English translation.
Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un.
Jorge Silva | Reuters
When asked about Kim’s remarks on Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the Biden administration has no “direct comment or answer”.
“”Our goal will always be centered on diplomacy and denuclearization in North Korea, “she said.” We are currently focused on working with and coordinating with our partners and allies on a number of issues, including security in the region. “
While in Seoul on Wednesday, Blinken accused Pyongyang of “systemic and widespread abuses” against his own people.
Under third-generation North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the withdrawn state carried out its most powerful nuclear test, launched its first ballistic ICBM and threatened to launch missiles into waters near Guam’s territory.
Since 2011, Kim has fired more than 100 missiles and conducted four nuclear weapon tests. This is more than what his father Kim Jong Il and grandfather Kim Il Sung fired over a 27 year period.
The Trump administration made initial strides with North Korea, but negotiations broke down more than a year ago after the US refused to grant sanctions in exchange for Pyongyang’s dismantling of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.