Pyongyang accuses U.S. of hurting ties with South

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Pyongyang accuses U.S. of hurting ties with South

North Korea accused the United States yesterday of undermining the prospects of improved relations with South Korea and the revival of six-party talks on its nuclear program by escalating “hostile” military activity and policies.

Pyongyang’s deputy UN ambassador, Ri Tong-il, said at a news conference that the North’s nuclear weapons are not a “political bargaining chip.”

He warned that as long as the United States continues “nuclear blackmails,” North Korea will continue to take “additional measures” - which he refused to disclose - “in order to demonstrate the power of the self-defensive nuclear deterrent.”

Ri contrasted the welcome the international community gave to February’s high-level talks between North Korea and South Korea that led to a revival of family reunions and “great expectations of the entire Korean nation toward wide-open dialogue, easing of tensions ... reconciliation and unification of the country” with the United States’ refusal to halt military drills with South Korea as Pyongyang had requested.

As North Korean and South Korean representatives were meeting, Ri said, the United States flew nuclear-weapon carrying B52 bombers over South Korea “undermining the climate of change toward relaxation.”

And while separated families were meeting at Diamond Mountain, the United States went ahead with drills that included nuclear-armed submarines and the newest missile-carrying destroyers, he said.

Using the initials of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the country’s official name, Ri said the United States is intent “on politically eliminating the DPRK as a regime, economically stifling the DPRK and militarily annihilating the DPRK.”

Without naming U.S. President Barack Obama but referring directly to him, Ri said, “As long as the U.S. government is in pursuit of so-called strategic patience, dreaming of the change of DPRK, the DPRK will take and exercise high degree of patience, waiting until a man of normal and reasonable vision and idea enters into the seat of ... the White House.”

The U.S. Mission to the United Nations had no immediate comment.

North Korea walked away from six-party nuclear disarmament talks in 2009 over disagreements on how to verify steps that the North was meant to take to end its nuclear programs. The United States and its allies are demanding that the North demonstrate its sincerity in ending its drive to acquire nuclear weapons.

Ri said U.S. preconditions are a pretext “to justify their rejection of the dialogue.”

“DPRK has been treating and remaining open to six-party talks without setting any preconditions,” he said. “And still DPRK is open, but I don’t believe ... [the] U.S. will come to the table.”

Since pulling out of the six-party talks, the North has conducted a long-range rocket test, its second-ever nuclear test, and most recently launches of short-range rockets that Ri called a “routine exercise.”

Last month, a UN commission of inquiry warned North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that he may be held accountable for orchestrating widespread crimes against civilians in the secretive Asian nation, ranging from systematic executions to torture, rape and mass starvation.

Ri said the DPRK’s National Defense Commission issued a statement on March 14 calling for the United States “to roll back all its anachronistic and outdated hostile policies,” including its “human rights conspiracy” against North Korea.

AP


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