Sun, Nov 04, 2018 - Page 5 News List

N Korea threatens nuclear restart

SANCTIONS REACTION:The Foreign Ministry said it was laughing at the ‘foolish idea’ of the US that sanctions and pressure would lead Pyongyang to denuclearize

AP, SEOUL

North Korea has warned it could revive a state policy aimed at bolstering its nuclear arsenal if the US does not lift economic sanctions against it.

The North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday said in a statement that the nation could bring back its pyongjin, “dual advancement,” policy of simultaneously advancing its nuclear force and economic development if the US does not change its stance.

Pyongyang accused Washington of derailing commitments made by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump at their June summit in Singapore to work toward a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

“The US thinks that its oft-repeated ‘sanctions and pressure’ leads to ‘denuclearization.’ We cannot help laughing at such a foolish idea,” said the statement, released under the name of the director of the ministry’s Institute for American Studies.

“The improvement of relations and sanctions is incompatible,” it said.

Following a series of nuclear and missile tests last year, Kim shifted to diplomacy when he met with Trump between three summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who lobbied to revive nuclear diplomacy between Washington and Seoul.

However, since the summit, the North has said that sanctions should be lifted before any progress could be made.

Ahead of his first summit with Moon in April, Kim said that the North should shift its focus to economic development, as the pyongjin policy had achieved a “great victory.”

He also said that the North would stop nuclear and long-range missile tests and close its nuclear testing ground. The North unilaterally dismantled the nuclear testing ground in May, but did not invite experts to observe and verify the event.

Friday’s statement marked the first time the North said it could potentially resume weapons tests and other development activities since Kim’s signaled a new state policy in April.

“If the US keeps behaving arrogantly without showing any change in its stand, while failing to properly understand our repeated demand, the DPRK may add one thing to the state policy for directing all efforts to the economic construction adopted in April and as a result, the word pyongjin may appear again,” the statement said, referring to North Korea by its official acronym.

Moon has described inter-Korean engagement as crucial to resolving the nuclear standoff.

A large number of South Korean business leaders accompanied Moon in his September visit to Pyongyang, when he and Kim agreed to normalize operations at a jointly run factory park and resume South Korean visitors’ travel to the North when possible, voicing optimism that the international sanctions could end and allow such projects.

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