North Korea says denuclearization off the table in US talks – The Guardian

North Korea says denuclearization off the table in US talks – The Guardian

Country’s ambassador to the UN said dialogue sought by US was a ‘time-saving trick’ to suit domestic political agenda

Donald Trump meets with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, at the North Korean side of the border at the village of Panmunjom in June 2019.
Photograph: Susan Walsh/AP

North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations said on Saturday denuclearization is already off the negotiating table with the US and lengthy talks with Washington are not needed.

The ambassador, Kim Song, said in a statement the “sustained and substantial dialogue” sought by the US was a “time-saving trick” to suit its domestic political agenda.

“We do not need to have lengthy talks with the US now and denuclearization is already gone out of the negotiating table,” he said in the statement made available to Reuters.

Tensions have risen ahead of a year-end deadline set by North Korea, which has called on the US to change its policy of demanding Pyongyang’s unilateral denuclearization and demanded relief from punishing sanctions.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has warned he could take an unspecified “new path” next year, raising fears this could mean a return to nuclear bomb and long-range missile testing suspended since 2017.

Trump and Kim have met three times since June 2018, but talks have made little progress and recent days have seen a return to the highly charged rhetoric that raised fears of war two years ago.

In 2017, the two leaders famously engaged in a war of words, Trump calling Kim “Rocket Man” and North Korea slamming the US president, now 73, as a “dotard”.

On Tuesday, Trump once again called Kim “Rocket Man” and said the US reserved the right to use military force. Pyongyang said any repeat of such language would represent “the relapse of the dotage of a dotard”.

On Friday, Trump and South Korean president Moon Jae-in held a half-hour phone discussion on ways to maintain diplomacy with North Korea, South Korea said.

It said the two leaders agreed that the situation has become “severe” and that “dialogue momentum should be maintained to achieve prompt results from denuclearization negotiations”.

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