North Korea lashes out at US diplomats over sanctions





North Korean military paradeImage copyrightAFP
Image captionIs the rhetoric returning to the big guns?

North Korea has lashed out again at the US for not lifting sanctions against the country.

The foreign ministry said it had made various goodwill gestures, and yet the US was still following an “outdated acting script” and jeopardising any moves towards denuclearisation.

North Korea remains under a range of international and US sanctions over its nuclear programme and missile tests.

The US wants full nuclear disarmament before sanctions can be lifted.

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed in June to work towards denuclearising the Korean peninsula.

But the details of that process remain vague – North Korea did not commit to unilaterally giving up its nuclear weapons.

Last week, a leaked UN report said the country had not stopped building weapons – which prompted the US to call on the international community to keep enforcing sanctions.

What does North Korea say?

Its foreign ministry cited various conciliatory moves it says the country has made: halting missile tests, the return of the remains of US soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War and the dismantling of a nuclear site.

“As long as the US denies even the basic decorum for its dialogue partner and clings to the outdated acting script which the previous administrations have all tried and failed, one cannot expect any progress in the implementation of the joint statement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

Earlier this week, North Korea’s foreign minister called US actions “alarming”. And last month, North Korea accused the US of using “gangster-like” tactics in the negotiations.

Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump shaking handsImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionIt’s a long way from handshake to denuclearisation

‘Waiting for a boiled egg to hatch’

The North’s foreign ministry also accused US officials of “going against the intention of President Trump” by “making baseless allegations” and “desperate attempts at intensifying the international sanctions and pressure”.

It said “expecting any result, while insulting the dialogue partner” was “a foolish act that amounts to waiting to see a boiled egg hatch out”.

Media captionNukes, Trump Towers and human rights – what might peace look like between the US and North Korea?

Top diplomats from the US have strongly criticised the North’s commitment to denuclearisation.

National security adviser John Bolton earlier this week said North Korea had not begun the progress, while the US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, said Washington was “not willing to wait for too long” for the North.

Pyongyang’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho is currently on a visit to Iran where President Hassan Rouhani warned the US could not be trusted after Tehran’s experience of having the Trump administration tear up an Obama-era deal to ease sanctions.

According to Iranian media, Mr Ri said his country would seek to retain its nuclear know-how for when the US would revert to a more aggressive position against Pyongyang.

“Since we know that the US will never give up its hostile policy toward us, we will hold onto our nuclear knowledge,” he was quoted as saying by local media.

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