North slams South, U.S. for thwarting Korean peace

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North slams South, U.S. for thwarting Korean peace

North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations on Monday slammed the United States and South Korea for their hostile policies thwarting peace on the peninsula.

At a General Assembly meeting on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Kim Song, the North’s envoy to the UN, said the United States was to blame for prolonging denuclearization negotiations, adding that the “key” to securing peace was for Washington to faithfully implement the agreement reached between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore in June 2018.

“The situation on the Korean Peninsula has not come out of the vicious cycle of increased tension, which is entirely attributable to the political and military provocations perpetrated by the U.S.,” Kim Song said, according to AP.

The ambassador also accused Seoul of “double-dealing behavior” in working to prop up its military capacity while simultaneously making outreaches for peace – a direct reference to the South’s combined military exercise with Washington that Kim said was aimed at the North “behind the scenes.”

In the same session, the IAEA’s Acting Director General Cornel Feruta said North Korea continued to flaunt UN Security Council resolutions with its continued nuclear activities, which he said “remain a cause for serious concern.”

Feruta also stressed it had been more than a decade since IAEA inspectors were expelled from North Korea, adding that the organization was continuing to monitor the regime’s nuclear program through satellite surveillance.

“The agency is ready to play an essential role in verifying the nuclear program, if a political agreement is reached among countries concerned,” Feruta said.

Kim, however, while accusing the IAEA of “prejudice” toward his country and showing its “ignorance of the prevailing reality of the Korean Peninsula,” assured North Korea was keeping in “good faith” with proactive efforts for peace on the peninsula, adding that Pyongyang has “refrained from nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests for 20 months.”

The IAEA’s 2018 report, which noted that intermittent reactor operation continued to be observed at the North’s main nuclear complex at Yongbyon, showed the agency was seeking to perpetuate stereotypes about the regime at the bidding of “hostile forces,” Kim said.

“If the IAEA is truly interested in the security of the Korean Peninsula, [it must remain] free from distrust,” Kim added, according to UPI.

While denuclearization negotiations remain frozen since the last attempt at talks between U.S. and North Korean envoys in Stockholm early last month, Kim Song’s remarks on the North’s supposed restraint from conducting overt nuclear tests suggest Pyongyang is still holding out on some sort of agreement before its self-imposed deadline runs out by the year’s end.

Jo Chol-su, the head of the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s North America Department, said at the 2019 Moscow Nonproliferation Conference on Friday that the window of opportunity for a deal was quickly closing, though the North expects “everything to go in a positive direction.”

BY SHIM KYU-SEOK [shim.kyuseok@joongang.co.kr]

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