North Korea has hit out at the US for urging that sanctions be maintained against Pyongyang, saying it is increasingly alarmed by US attitudes towards the country.
North’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said on Saturday despite “goodwill measures” taken by the North, Washington was “raising its voice louder for maintaining the sanctions against the DPRK.”
Ri made the remarks in an address to a security forum in Singapore, using the initials of the North’s official name.
He criticized “insistent moves manifested within the US to go back to the old, far from its leader’s intention” after President Donald Trump reached a general agreement on denuclearization last month.
“As long as the US does not show in practice its strong will to remove our concerns, there will be no case whereby we will move forward first unilaterally,” Ri said.
The vague comamitment to “denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” is a far cry from long-standing US demands for complete, verifiable and irreversible disarmament.
Ri said, “The DPRK stands firm in its determination and commitment for implementing the DPRK-US Joint Statement in a responsible and good-faith manner.”
“What is alarming however is the insistent moves manifested within the US to go back to the old, far from its leader’s intention,” he added.
Earlier US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged major powers attending the same forum, including China and Russia, to keep up sanctions pressure against the North.
A UN report says North Korea continues its weapons programs despite its leader’s promise to denuclearize.
The six-month confidential report from independent experts monitoring Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile activities, cited by Reuters, said the North is still developing its weapons programs. Pyongyang has “continued to defy Security Council resolutions through a massive increase in illicit ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products, as well as through transfers of coal at sea during 2018,” the report said.