North Korea says US ruining mood of detente ahead of summit

2018-05-06 14:23
South Korean army soldiers remove loudspeakers used for propaganda near the demilitarised zone between South and North Korea, in Paju, South Korea. (Lee Jin-man, AP, File)

South Korean army soldiers remove loudspeakers used for propaganda near the demilitarised zone between South and North Korea, in Paju, South Korea. (Lee Jin-man, AP, File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

With just weeks to go before US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are expected to hold their first ever summit, Pyongyang on Sunday criticised what it called "misleading" claims that Trump's policy of maximum political pressure and sanctions are what drove the North to the negotiating table.

The North's official news agency quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesperson warning the claims are a "dangerous attempt" to ruin a budding detente on the Korean Peninsula after Kim's summit late last month with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

At the summit, Kim agreed to a number of measures aimed at improving North-South ties and indicated he is willing to discuss the denuclearisation of the peninsula, though exactly what that would entail and what conditions the North might require have not yet been explained.

Trump and senior US officials have suggested repeatedly that Washington's tough policy toward North Korea, along with pressure on its main trading partner China, have played a decisive role in turning around what had been an extremely tense situation.

Just last year, as Kim was launching long-range missiles at a record pace and trading vulgar insults with Trump, it would have seemed unthinkable for the topic of denuclearisation to be on the table.

Meeting

But the North's statement on Sunday seemed to be aimed at strengthening Kim's position going into his meeting with Trump. Pyongyang claims Kim himself is the driver of the current situation.

"The US is deliberately provoking the DPRK at the time when the situation on the Korean Peninsula is moving toward peace and reconciliation," the spokesperson was quoted as saying.

DPRK is short for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's formal name.

Kim and Trump are expected to meet later this month or in early June.

Trump has indicated the date and place have been chosen and said he believes the Demilitarised Zone that divides the Koreas might be a good venue. Singapore was also believed to be a potential site.

Experts are split over whether Kim's statement made with Moon at the DMZ marks a unique opening for progress or a rehash of Pyongyang's longstanding demand for security guarantees.

Sunday's comments were among the very few the North has made since Trump agreed in March to the meeting.

The spokesperson warned the US not to interpret Pyongyang's willingness to talk as a sign of weakness.

He also criticised Washington for its ongoing "pressure and military threats" and its position that such pressure won't be eased until North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons completely.

Korean-Americans' release

Before Trump meets Kim, Washington is hoping to gain the release of three Korean-Americans accused of anti-state activities. Trump hinted the release of Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song and Tony Kim was in the offing.

There was no sign of an imminent release on Sunday, though the men have reportedly been moved to the capital.

The White House, meanwhile, has announced a separate meeting between Trump and Moon at the White House on May 22 to "continue their close co-ordination on developments regarding the Korean Peninsula".

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

Read more on:    kim jong un  |  us  |  north korea  |  nuclear

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.