North Korean diplomat: US overtures are a 'cheap trick'

Top North Korean diplomat: We have only heard lunatic theory from the new US administration.

Elad Benari ,

Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un

A top North Korean diplomat said on Wednesday that the United States had recently tried to initiate contact with Pyongyang, but blasted the attempts as a “cheap trick” that would never be answered until Washington drops hostile policies, Reuters reported.

Choe Son Hui, first vice minister of foreign affairs for North Korea, said the attempts at contact were made by sending e-mails and telephone messages via various routes, including by a third country.

Choe said North Korea had already made clear it would not talk while the United States maintains hostile policies such as military drills and sanctions, and that the attempts at contact were a “cheap trick” for gaining time and building up public opinion.

“What has been heard from the US since the emergence of the new regime is only lunatic theory of ‘threat from North Korea’ and groundless rhetoric about ‘complete denuclearization,’” she said, according to Reuters.

Her comments confirm last week’s reports that North Korea has not responded to behind-the-scenes diplomatic outreach since mid-February by President Joe Biden’s new administration.

Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, later warned the US administration against “causing a stink” if it wants peace.

Former US President Donald Trump tried to reached an agreement with North Korea while in office. Kim and Trump met in Hanoi in 2019 for a summit that left nuclear talks at a standstill.

The pair had met three times since June 2018 but made little progress towards denuclearization.

Since those talks broke down, North Korea has conducted several tests of ballistic missiles.

Shortly before Biden took office, the North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party held its first congress in five years. During the congress, Kim was named the “general secretary” of the party.

In remarks he made at the start of the gathering, Kim threatened to expand his nuclear arsenal and stated that the fate of relations with the United States depends on whether it abandons its “hostile policy”.

Later, North Korea displayed what appeared to be a new submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) at a parade.