dpa/GNA – A top North Korean official has vowed to ignore US attempts to establish contact until Washington has met Pyongyang’s conditions, indicating any movement on the debate about its nuclear weapons programme remains a long way away.
According to media reports, the US has been trying to contact North Korea since mid-February.
“We don’t think there is need to respond to the US delaying-time trick again,” North Korea’s first deputy foreign minister, Choe Son Hui, said on Thursday in a statement carried by the North Korean state news agency KCNA.
She accused Washington of adopting hostile policies and using “cheap tricks.”
She said no contact or dialogue of any kind was possible unless the US rolls back what she called its “hostile policy” towards North Korea.
“In order for a dialogue to be held, an atmosphere for both parties to exchange words on an equal basis must be created,” she asserted. Pyongyang would also disregard future Washington attempts to take up contact.
With Choe’s statement, North Korea confirmed for the first time that the administration of President Joe Biden has been trying to get in touch.
While discussing North Korea’s nuclear programme on a diplomatic visit to South Korea, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said China needs to use its influence on North Korea to bring some calm to the region.
“Because it is a source of instability, it’s a source of danger and obviously a threat to us and our partners,” said Blinken. “China has a real interest in helping to deal with this – tremendous influence – I would hope that whatever happens going forward, China will use that influence effectively.”
Blinken is currently travelling through the region with US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin. The two met their South Korean counterparts as a group of four in Seoul on Thursday.
A White House spokesperson said earlier this month that efforts in this direction had so far been unsuccessful. The goal is to rely on diplomacy and reduce the “risk of escalation,” it said.
Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, had initiated talks with ruler Kim Jong Un about North Korea’s nuclear programme and also met him personally.
Despite two high-profile summits attended by Trump and Kim amid much fanfare, little progress was made on the issue of reducing or dismantling the disputed North Korean nuclear arsenal.
Choe did not specifically say what demands the US must meet for talks to start. The last round of talks between Trump and Kim broke down because the US was unwilling to lift sanctions on North Korea, despite promises to end at least some nuclear programmes.