North Korea: We will not disarm if US sanctions us

North Korea's foreign minister says "no way" his country will disarm first as long as the United States continues to push for sanctions.

Elad Benari,

North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong Ho
North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong Ho
Reuters

North Korea's foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, on Saturday told the United Nations there was "no way" that his country would disarm first as long as the United States continued to push for tough enforcement of sanctions against Pyongyang, AFP reported.

In his address to the United Nations General Assembly, Ri accused Washington of creating a deadlock in talks on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

"The recent deadlock is because the US relies on coercive measures which are lethal to trust-building," he said.

"Without any trust in the US, there will be no confidence in our national security and under such circumstances, there is no way we will unilaterally disarm ourselves first," added the North Korean minister.

The United States is insisting on a "denuclearization-first" policy that "increases the level of pressure by sanctions to achieve their purpose in a coercive manner," he continued.

"The perception that sanctions can bring us on our knees is a pipe dream of the people who are ignorant about us."

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump held a summit in Singapore in June, during which they signed an agreement which includes a commitment to achieve total denuclearization of Korea, with promises to pursue “vigorous negotiations” to that end.

Subsequent reports suggested, however, that despite its commitment to denuclearize, North Korea has continued to expand infrastructure at nuclear and missile sites.

This week, Ri met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who agreed to return to Pyongyang next month to discuss US demands that the North scrap its weapons programs.

Ri told the UN assembly that his government had stopped nuclear and missile tests, dismantled a nuclear test site and continued to make efforts to build trust.

"However we do not see any corresponding response from the US," he said.

In his address to the UN General Assembly this past Tuesday, Trump praised Kim for his courage in taking steps to disarm, but said much work still had to be done and sanctions must remain in place on North Korea until it denuclearizes.




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