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Korea slams U.S. officials for sanctions

11 August 2018
Korea slams U.S. officials for sanctions

North Korea on Thursday accused the United States of acting in bad faith, saying Washington's push for full sanctions pressure against Pyongyang would stall progress on the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

"We hoped that these goodwill measures would contribute to breaking down the high barrier of mistrust existing between the DPRK and the USA and to establishing mutual trust".

But follow-up talks have seen little progress, fueling doubts over the North's intention to denuclearize in both South Korea and the US.

The statement, credited to North Korea's Foreign Ministry, notably did not blame Trump but singled out "some high-level officials within the USA administration" who it said were going against the President's will.

"The U.S. should, even at this belated time, respond to our honest efforts in a corresponding manner", North Korea added in its statement.

The comments come less than two months after Trump met in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, after which the president proclaimed a historic breakthrough in relations.

But the North Korea statement separates Mr. Trump from "high-level officials", thus allowing the the country to rail against the USA, while leaving the door open for the president to continue his dialogue with leader Kim Jong Un.

According to North Korea, the U.S.'s response is "foolish" and equal to "throwing cold water" on their efforts.

The two sides vowed at that time to work towards North Korea's denuclearisation but have struggled to reach a deal to meet that goal, with the United States insisting that sanctions pressure must be maintained during negotiations.

In the most recent sign of growing frustration between Washington and Pyongyang, North Korea criticised senior American officials for insisting that North Korea give up its nuclear weapons first before easing sanctions.

"The firms appear to have illicitly brought it in expecting big trading margins after prices of North Korean coal had dropped due to the import ban", Roh Suk-hwan, deputy commissioner of the Korea Customs Service, told a news conference.

One diplomatic source in Washington said, "The U.S. informed South Korea through the embassy that a ship went to South Korea from Russian Federation carrying North Korean coal".

Ri traveled this week to Iran, where President Hassan Rouhani told him the United States can not be trusted after the Trump administration reneged on a 2015 deal to lift sanctions in return for curbs on Iran's own nuclear program.

USA officials have declined to comment on a report on the Vox news website on Wednesday saying that North Korea had repeatedly rejected a US proposal for it to cut its nuclear arsenal by 60 to 70 per cent within six to eight months.

In May, an official statement said "we do not hide our feeling of repugnance towards" Bolton after he suggested Libya as a potential model for future North Korean denuclearization.

It wasn't clear when another inter-Korean summit might happen, but if the April 27 summit agreements between Moon and Kim are followed through on, the leaders will likely meet in Pyongyang in the next couple of months.