North Korea threatens USA over ‘hostile’ sanctions after failed denuclearisation talks

Cheryl Sanders
June 26, 2019

North Korea slammed the USA for extending sanctions against Pyongyang and sharply criticized Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday, even as South Korea's president claimed "behind-the-scenes" talks are underway to arrange a third summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un.

North Korea has slammed the recent extension of USA sanctions against the country as a "hostile act", vowing never to surrender in the face of sanctions or military action.

North Korean and USA officials are holding "behind-the-scenes talks" to arrange a third summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on the fate of the North's expanding nuclear arsenal, South Korea's president said, four months after a second meeting between the leaders in Hanoi collapsed without any agreement.

Yet just hours after the statement published, South Korean President Moon Jae-in revealed that the long-time adversaries had been talking "behind the scenes" and "engaged in dialogue in regard to a third summit".

"It's noteworthy that the behind-the-scenes talks have been preceded by the mutual understanding of each other's position gained through the Hanoi summit".

The official also warned it would be hard to achieve denuclearization as long as U.S. politics were dominated by policymakers who had an "inveterate antagonism" toward North Korea.

Moon has been an ardent champion of efforts to end the confrontation, vowing to play a mediator role in nudging North Korea into giving up its nuclear weapons in exchange for an end to sanctions and security guarantees. "I think creating a security environment where Chairman Kim can decisively act on nuclear dismantlement without worries is the fastest way to achieve denuclearization diplomatically", Moon added, without specifying the security concessions Washington and Seoul could make.

The foreign ministry also denounced Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for saying recently that more than 80% of the North Korean economy was under sanctions.

The ministry said that all this shows "the unbridled USA desire to put North Korea on its knees through sanctions, and pressure not only does not diminish at all, but it strengthens, and even more openly".

Talks over North Korea's nuclear programme broke down after the two men met for a second time in Hanoi in February.

Trump and Kim's willingness to engage in dialogue had "never faded", he added in the interview with editors of major news agencies including AFP, noting a recent exchange of letters between them. Pompeo visited Pyongyang four times previous year as Trump's top envoy to arrange his two summits with the North Korean leader.

The rows over wartime history have always been a stumbling block for relations between the neighbours, sparking concern that the dispute could impact joint efforts to rein in North Korea's nuclear programme.

"I believe everything has now fallen into place for that to happen". Following his setback in Hanoi, Kim traveled to the Russian Far East in April for his first summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The US has over the years imposed or spearheaded rounds of sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs.

Pyongyang and Washington, he continued, will need to decide at what stage both sides can describe North Korea as "having reached an irreversible stage" of denuclearization. Following the Hanoi summit, Moon had said Seoul would "consult" with Washington on resuming operations at an inter-Korean factory park in the North Korean border city of Kaesong and restarting South Korean tours to the North's scenic Diamond Mountain resort.

Other reports by iNewsToday