North Korea accuses US of following ‘outdated acting script’
Pyongyang also said American officials are ‘going against the intention of President Trump’ by ‘making baseless allegations’ and ‘making desperate attempts at intensifying’ sanctions and pressure
North Korea accused the United States on Thursday of pushing for international sanctions despite goodwill moves by Pyongyang and said that progress on denuclearisation promises could not be expected if Washington continued to follow an “outdated acting script”.
A foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement on state-run KCNA that North Korea was still willing to institute the broad agreement reached at the June 12 summit meeting in Singapore between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The two sides vowed at that time to work towards North Korea’s denuclearisation but have struggled to reach a deal to meet that goal, with the United States insisting that sanctions pressure must be maintained during negotiations.
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The North Korean statement followed comments this week by top American diplomats stressing the need for Pyongyang to take additional steps toward denuclearisation. Those followed contentious remarks last week by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho on the sidelines of a regional forum in Singapore.
North Korea’s foreign ministry said on Thursday it had stopped missile and nuclear tests and dismantled “the nuclear test ground”, yet the United States still insisted on “denuclearisation first”.
Pyongyang also returned the remains of some US soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean war in a gesture intended to break down mistrust between the countries, it said.
“However, the US responded to our expectation by inciting international sanctions and pressure against the DPRK,” it said in a statement carried by KCNA news agency.
The United States was “attempting to invent a pretext for increased sanctions against the DPRK”.
“As long as the US denies even the basic decorum for its dialogue partner and clings to the outdated acting script which the previous administrations have all tried and failed, one cannot expect any progress in the implementation of the DPRK-US joint statement, including the denuclearisation,” it said.
The White House and US State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
North Korea also accused unidentified high-level US officials of “going against the intention of President Trump” by “making baseless allegations against us and making desperate attempts at intensifying the international sanctions and pressure”.
On Wednesday, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that the United States was “not willing to wait for too long” for North Korea to take steps towards denuclearising.
“This is all in North Korea’s court,” Haley told reporters travelling with her during a visit to Colombia.
Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, also said this week that North Korea has not taken the steps necessary to denuclearise.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri travelled this week to Iran, where President Hassan Rowhani told him the United States could not be trusted after the Trump administration reneged on a 2015 deal to lift sanctions in return for curbs on Iran’s own nuclear programme.