North Korea yesterday said that the US redesignating Pyongyang as a sponsor of terrorism is dimming prospects for nuclear diplomacy between the countries.
The North’s remarks came as the country escalates its pressures on the US over a stalemate in nuclear negotiations.
Last week, North Korea test-fired projectiles from what it called a newly developed “super-large” multiple rocket launcher in the country’s first weapons test in about a month.
The North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said in a statement that the US Department of State’s terrorism blacklist report released last week proves again that the US maintains a “hostile policy” and “inveterate repugnancy” toward North Korea.
“This is an insult to and perfidy against a dialogue partner,” the statement said.
“The channel of the dialogue between [North Korea] and the US is more and more narrowing” due to the US stance, it added.
North Korea had been on the terrorism blacklist for two decades after its agents were blamed for the bombing of a South Korean airliner that killed 115 people in 1987. It was delisted in 2008 as Washington tried to entice North Korea into a nuclear deal.
However, the administration of US President Donald Trump relisted it in 2017, saying that the North repeatedly supported acts of international terrorism.
The most glaring recent case was the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, using VX nerve agent at a Malaysian airport in 2017.
Last year, North Korea and the US launched on-and-off diplomacy on what terms North Korea would give up its advancing nuclear arsenal.
However, the talks largely have stalled since a second summit between Kim and Trump collapsed in February due to disputes over sanctions on North Korea.
Negotiators last month met in Stockholm, but reportedly made no meaningful progress.
The South Korean National Intelligence Service on Monday told lawmakers in a closed-door meeting that it expects the US-North Korea talks to resume by early next month at the latest, according to Lee Eun-jae, one of the lawmakers who attended the meeting.
North Korea has demanded that the US work out mutually acceptable proposals to salvage the nuclear diplomacy by year’s end.
Some experts have said that North Korea could perform more weapons tests in the coming weeks as it approaches the end-of-year deadline.
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