United Nations : The rival Koreas plan to hold high-level talks on Monday to prepare for a third summit between their leaders, as Pyongyang called on the United States to reciprocate its “goodwill measures” by easing sanctions and stopping demands that the North denuclearise first.
The plans by the Korean leaders to meet come as Washington and Pyongyang try to follow through on nuclear disarmament vows made at a US-North Korea summit in June between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
In the most recent sign of growing frustration between Washington and Pyongyang, North Korea criticised senior American officials for insisting that North Korea give up its nuclear weapons first before easing sanctions. Notably, the statement didn’t directly criticise Trump.
North Korea said in a statement on Thursday that “some high-level officials within the US administration” were making “desperate attempts at intensifying the international sanctions and pressure”. “We hoped that these goodwill measures would contribute to breaking down the high barrier of mistrust” between Pyongyang and Washington, the North’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson said. “However, the US responded to our expectation by inciting international sanctions and pressure.”
Those American officials are “going against the intention of President Trump to advance the DPRK-US relations, who is expressing gratitude to our goodwill measures for implementing the DPRK-US joint statement,” it said referring to the North by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Washington has said sanctions will not be lifted until Pyongyang fully and finally dismantles its nuclear weapons. Experts say North Korea does not want to denuclearise first or maybe denuclearise at all as it wants a long, drawn-out process that sees external aid shipped in return for abandoning nuclear weapons.
Pyongyang has also stepped up its calls for a formal end to the Korean War, which some analysts believe is meant to be the first step in the North’s effort to eventually see all 28,500 US troops leave the Korean Peninsula.
A South Korean official at the Unification Ministry, requesting anonymity, said the two Koreas will also discuss ways to push through tension-reducing agreements made during an earlier summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Among the agreements was holding another inter-Korean summit in the fall in Pyongyang. The rival Koreas may try to seek a breakthrough amid what experts see as little progress on nuclear disarmaments between Pyongyang and Washington despite the Singapore summit in June and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visits to North Korea.
Pyongyang insisted the US should reciprocate to the NK’s suspension of missile launches and nuclear tests and other goodwill gestures.