North Korea’s top envoy slams US stance on sanctions
SEOUL – Anadolu Agency
North Korea’s foreign minister argued Aug. 4 that the United States is not holding up its end of their recent denuclearization deal.
While the June 12 agreement reached between U.S. President Donald Trump and the North’s Chairman Kim Jong-un in Singapore did not include specifics, Ri Yong-ho told the ASEAN regional forum that both sides need to take “simultaneous actions.”
Having previously accompanied Kim on his visit to the city-state, the minister was back in Singapore for the Southeast Asia forum -- alongside other leading diplomats, including U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Ri said that North Korea has halted nuclear and missile tests and is also dismantling its site for nuclear weapon experiments.
“However, the United States, instead of responding to these measures, is raising its voice louder to maintain the sanctions against [North Korea] and show the attitude to retreat even from declaring the end of the war, a very basic and primary step for providing peace on the Korean Peninsula,” he said in a speech made available by Pyongyang’s delegation.
Washington has maintained it will only agree to formally end the Korean War -- having signed the 1953 armistice -- once the North has denuclearized.
Following apparently positive messages between Trump and Kim since their unprecedented summit, Ri suggested the current moves by the U.S. are “far from its leader’s intention.”
Earlier in the day, Pompeo reiterated the American goal of denuclearizing North Korea, telling reporters that he called on countries involved in the forum to “strictly enforce all sanctions.”
“Any violation that distracts from the world’s goal of finally fully denuclearizing North Korea would be something that America would take very seriously,” Pompeo said, according to the Yonhap News Agency, addressing reports that Russia has been violating sanctions against the North.
Meanwhile, Ri reportedly aimed to convince fellow forum participants to either relax or completely abandon those sanctions.
The U.N. Security Council adopted its latest resolution punishing Pyongyang following the authoritarian regime’s sixth nuclear test nearly a year ago.