North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho demanded that Washington officially declare the end of the war at the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday (local time), saying that “Without any trust in the U.S., there will be no confidence in our national security, and under such circumstances, there is no way we will unilaterally disarm ourselves first.” Ri also called for the easing of sanctions, which he said are “deepening our mistrust.” The North Korean top diplomat’s remarks are likely to set off a tug-of-war between Washington and Pyongyang ahead of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to North Korea scheduled for October.
“The DPRK government’s commitment to the denuclearization is solid and firm. However, it is only possible if the U.S. secures our sufficient trust towards the U.S.,” said Ri at the 73rd session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York Saturday. “The U.S. insists on ‘denuclearization first’ and increases the level of pressure by sanctions to achieve their purpose in a coercive manner, and even objecting the declaration of the end of war,” said Ri. “If the joint statement (between North Korea and the United States signed in June) becomes a victim of the domestic politics of the U.S., then the greatest victim of the subsequent unpredictable consequences will the U.S. itself as a whole.”
“The perception that sanctions can bring us to our knees is a pipe dream of the people who are ignorant about us. But the problem is that the continued sanctions are deepening our mistrust,” he also said.
Yet, despite the North’s assertive messages at the U.N. General Assembly, Washington and Pyongyang are apparently engaging in talks to hold a second bilateral summit. An official at the U.S. State Department said in an interview with The Dong-A Ilbo that “President Trump and Chairman Kim made several promises regarding the final, fully verified denuclearization (FFVD) and the brighter future of North Korea. We are discussing the implementation of all these promises with the North.”
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