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N. Korea slams US over sanctions

August 9, 2018

Pyongyang has accused US diplomats of undermining President Trump and "making desperate attempts" to intensify sanctions against the North. Both sides agreed to seek "denuclearization" at a historic summit in June.

North Korean flag
Image: picture-alliance/AP Images/P. Semansky

North Korea on Thursday accused the US of pushing forward with international sanctions despite progress on an agreement to dismantle its nuclear and ballistic missiles programs.

The US is "insulting the dialogue partner and throwing cold water over our sincere efforts for building confidence, which can be seen as a precondition for implementing" an agreement between the countries' leaders, North Korea's foreign ministry said.

In June, US President Donald Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore for a historic summit between both countries. During the summit, Trump and Kim agreed to "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula.

Shattering confidence

In a move largely aimed at building confidence between both countries, North Korean authorities last month handed over the remains of some US soldiers who were killed during the Korean War in the early 1950s.

Read more: Is North Korea defying the US in expanding weapons production?

But last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Russia, China and other countries of violating international sanctions still in place against North Korea. Pompeo cited reports that Moscow violated UN sanctions by allowing joint ventures with North Korean companies.

'Desperate attempts'

Pompeo's remarks did not go down well in North Korea. The North Korean Foreign Ministry on Thursday accused senior diplomats of undermining Trump by "making baseless allegations against us and making desperate attempts at intensifying the international sanctions and pressure."

"As long as the US denies even the basic decorum for its dialogue partner and clings to the outdated acting script which the previous administrations have all tried and failed, one cannot expect any progress in the implementation of the DPRK-US joint statement, including denuclearization."

Towards peace

Pyongyang's criticism of the US came ahead of a high-level meeting planned for Monday between North and South Korean officials. The exchange aims to lay the groundwork for a third summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

South Korea's Unification Ministry said it is hoping to hold "in-depth discussions" to ensure the summit is "successful."

Read more: North Korea does not want to be like East Germany

Earlier this year, North Korea launched a major diplomatic offensive that including sending athletes and officials to the Winter Olympic Games hosted by South Korea. Since then, Pyongyang has pushed for a rapprochement with Seoul and Washington.

Korea: Hope for a divided country

ls/amp (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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