North Korea has no immediate plans to resume nuclear negotiations with US

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un takes part in the 13th Political Bureau meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) in this image released June 7, 2020. (KCNA via Reuters)

North Korea on Saturday reiterated it has no immediate plans to resume nuclear negotiations with the United States unless Washington discards what it describes as “hostile” policies toward Pyongyang.

The statement by North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui came days after President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, told reporters that Trump might seek another summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as an “October surprise” ahead of the US presidential election.

Kim and Trump have met three times since embarking on their high-stakes nuclear diplomacy in 2018, but negotiations have faltered since their second summit in February last year in Vietnam, where the Americans rejected North Korean demands for major sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear capability.

Kim entered 2020 vowing to bolster his nuclear deterrent in face of “gangster-like” US sanctions and pressure. Choe’s statement followed a series of similar declarations by the North that it would no longer gift Trump with high-profile meetings he could boast of as his foreign policy achievements unless it gets something substantial in return.

“Is it possible to hold dialogue or have any dealings with the US which persists in the hostile policy toward the DPRK in disregard of the agreements already made at the past summit?” Choe said, referring to North Korea by its formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“We do not feel any need to sit face-to-face with the US, as it does not consider the DPRK-US dialogue as nothing more than a tool for grappling its political crisis,” she said.

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Some analysts believe North Korea would avoid serious negotiations with the United States at least until the November presidential election as there’s a chance US leadership could change.

The North in recent months have also been ramping up pressure against South Korea, blowing up an inter-Korean liaison office in its territory and threatening to abandon a bilateral military agreement aimed at reduce tensions. It follows months of frustration over Seoul’s unwillingness to defy US-led sanctions and restart joint economic projects that would breathe life into the North’s broken economy.

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Last Update: Saturday, 04 July 2020 KSA 20:18 - GMT 17:18
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