On Friday, North Korea stated that there was no future benefit in maintaining a relationship with the United States. The announcement was made on the second anniversary of the first summit meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un.
In the statement published on North Korean news agency KCNA, Foreign Minister Ri Son Gwon said that “even a slim ray of optimism for peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula has faded away into a dark nightmare.”
“What stands out is that the hope for improved DPRK-U.S. relations – which was high in the air under the global spotlight two years ago – has now been shifted into despair," he declared, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Ri also vowed to build up a “more reliable force to cope with the long-term military threats from the US.”
This response comes after a spokesperson from the US State Department said that they were disappointed by North Korea’s decision to completely sever communication ties with South Korea on Tuesday.
“We urge the DPRK to return to diplomacy and cooperation,” the spokesperson said to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency. “We remain in close coordination with our ally, the Republic of Korea, on efforts to engage the DPRK.”
In anger, North Korean officials responded saying that the US had no right to comment on inter-Korean affairs.
The director general for US affairs at North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, Kwon Jong Gun warned the US to “hold its tongue,” adding that it was in Washington’s interest to “stay quiet if it wants the upcoming presidential election to go smoothly.”
However, it remains unclear what North Korea would do to disrupt the election or cause problems for US President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, said James Kim, a research fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul.
“If anything, there’s a chance that provocation may even rally the country around the incumbent,” he added.
In June 2018, a historic summit meeting took place between the two leaders where they expressed intent to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear weapons program in exchange for the alleviation of sanctions placed on the hermit kingdom.
However, the nations have made little progress over the last two years and have appeared to reach a stalemate with both leaders failing to reach a consensus in subsequent negotiations over the scope and process involved to denuclearize North Korea and ease US sanctions.
Ri insisted that North Korea was sincere in its commitment to opening a new cooperative era but that the situation continues to worsen over time, branding the US as “totally unjust and anachronistic.”
“The US professes to be an advocate for improved relations with the DPRK, but in fact, it is hell-bent on only exacerbating the situation,” said Ri before accusing the Trump administration of threatening them with preemptive nuclear strikes and regime change.
“Never again will we provide the US chief executive with another package to be used for achievements without receiving any returns,” he continued.
“Nothing is more hypocritical than an empty promise.”
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