North Korea has cautioned that new U.S. sanctions on three of its top officials could “block the path to denuclearization on the Korean peninsula forever” and could lead in a return to “exchanges of fire.”
The warning came in days after the Treasury Department forced the fresh sanctions on the three who including Choe Ryong Hae, seen as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s right hand-man mentioning steady human rights abuses, censorship and the death last year of American prisoner Otto Warmbier.
The statement, passed on Sunday by North Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, gave credit to President Donald Trump, stating that he “avails himself of every possible occasion to state his willingness to improve DPRK-U.S. relations.” The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea or DPRK is the official name of North Korea.
However, it blamed the State Department of being “bent on bringing the DPRK-U.S. relations back to the status of last year which was marked by exchanges of fire.”
Trump has oftenly praised Kim, noting in September that the North’s leader was “terrific” and that the two “fell in love” after their historic summit in Singapore in June.Their summit produced an agreement that North Korea would work toward a “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” while the U.S. assured to provide security guarantees.
Their summit came about an agreement that North Korea would work toward a “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” while the U.S. promised to provide security guarantees.
Yet more than six months later, there has been little tangible progress.
Pyongyang is in search for relief from punishing international sanctions and an agreement for a formal end to the Korean War, while Washington is looking out for complete denuclearization first, sticking to its “maximum pressure” strategy on the economic and diplomatic fronts.
Until then, satellite imagery has displayed that North Korea is continuing with its nuclear and missile programs.
The North’s statement said “The U.S. should realize before it is too late that ‘maximum pressure’ would not work against us,” It proposed that relations be improved “on a step-by-step approach.”
The statement added that if Washington is convinced on the policy of increased sanctions and pressure on human rights would force the North to give up its nuclear weapons, “it will count as greatest miscalculation, and it will block the path to denuclearization on the Korean peninsula forever – a result desired by no one,”
In spite of the stalemate, Washington is still making plans for a second Trump-Kim summit, which Trump earlier said he expected would take place in early 2019.
Nevertheless, Trump also indicated that he was ready to take a patient approach, tweeting on Friday that the U.S. was in “no hurry” in its negotiations with North Korea.
He tweeted “There is wonderful potential for great economic success for that country, “Kim Jong Un sees it better than anyone and will fully take advantage of it for his people. We are doing just fine!”