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Pyongyang rules out nuke talks unless US lifts hostility: KCNA

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho and Kim Yong Chol, Vice Chairman of the North Korean Workers' Party Committee, meet with U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam February 28, 2019. (Leah Millis/Reuters)
November 18, 2019

North Korea has ruled out any denuclearization talks with the U.S. unless Washington lifts its “hostile policies” against the regime, according to the Asian nation’s state-run media.

“Even if talks between North Korea and the U.S. occur in the future, we will never discuss the nuclear issue unless the U.S. first puts forth proposals to withdraw its hostile policies against us, with an aim to improve our relations,” the Korean Central News Agency reported Sunday, citing a foreign ministry spokesman.

The statement, made in response to the United Nations’ adoption of a resolution on North Korea’s human rights conditions last week, came hours after the U.S. and South Korea announced they would postpone a joint military training exercise this month as part of diplomatic efforts.

Pyongyang earlier blamed the drills “as a main factor of screwing up tensions” and reminded Washington that leader Kim Jong Un has given the U.S. a year-end deadline to reduce sanctions or “face a greater threat.”

While Washington’s willingness to adjust the drills has helped thaw tensions, the UN resolution was “a clear reminder” that the U.S. has yet to give up its purpose of “tearing down our regime,” according to KCNA.

“That the U.S. is still dreaming about overturning our regime even as bilateral talks are being touted proves that it has no intention to sincerely sit down with us to resolve the issue,” KCNA said. “We are no longer willing to sit down with it either.”

Pyongyang’s statement coming despite the postponement of the joint drills “seems to suggest a difficult road ahead of resuming a dialogue on denuclearization, said Rachel Minyoung Lee, an analyst at NK Pro in Seoul.


(c) 2019 Bloomberg News

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