North Korea has rejected claims by the United States that sanctions and other pressure brought Pyongyang to the negotiating table with long-time ally South Korea and Washington itself.
A spokesman for the North’s Foreign Ministry also said on Sunday that recent remarks by US President Donald Trump crediting a US pressure campaign for a diplomatic breakthrough between Pyongyang and Seoul threatened the prospect of peace.
Describing Pyongyang’s recent move to open dialog with the South as a “sign of weakness” would “not be conducive” to talks and may “bring the situation back to square one,” said the spokesperson, whose name was not mentioned in reports.
The spokesperson said such remarks would be “deliberately provoking” North Korea.
Back in January, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un expressed sudden interest in dialog with the South. Soon afterwards, diplomats from the two countries were meeting to prepare for North Korean participation in Winter Olympics due in the South, which were also attended by Kim’s sister and North Korea’s ceremonial head of state in a sign of diplomatic thaw.
The détente culminated in a historic summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in April.
Just before that summit, reports emerged that then-CIA chief and now-US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had also earlier secretly visited Pyongyang and met with Kim.
A summit is now being planned between the North Korean leader and US President Donald Trump.
The US president, who has attributed credit for the inter-Korean rapprochement to himself, said last week that the US’s “strength is going to keep us out of nuclear war” with the North.
While the diplomacy between the two Koreas has so far run smoothly, the possible meeting between Kim and Trump and a potential lifting of US and international restrictions on North Korea remain vulnerable to political complacency.
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