North Korea rules out talks with ‘two-faced’ US
North Korea has blasted Washington for offering renewed peace negotiations even as it ramps up military provocations in the region and tries to deny Pyongyang’s sovereign right to develop its aerospace program.
Kim Yo-jong, North Korea’s foreign policy chief and sister of leader Kim Jong-un, dismissed the possibility of resuming negotiations with US officials on Wednesday, citing the “extreme double standards” displayed at this week’s UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting regarding the launch of Pyongyang’s first spy satellite. She claimed that US officials asked North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), to set the time and agenda for renewed dialogue.
“The sovereignty of an independent state can never be an agenda item for negotiations, and therefore, the DPRK will never sit face to face with the US for that purpose,” Kim said in a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). “The main threat to international peace and security does not come from the exercise of the DPRK's sovereign right but from the US high-handed and arbitrary practices to disturb and oppress it.”
Kim made her comments two days after US and North Korean diplomats sparred at the UNSC over Pyongyang’s right to develop weapons systems as it sees fit to defend itself. US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield disputed North Korea’s claims that its controversial missile tests were defensive in nature, coming in response to Washington’s joint military exercises with South Korean forces.
Thomas-Greenfield offered “dialogue without preconditions,” adding that the DPRK merely needs to accept Washington’s overture. At the same time, she claimed that North Korea’s launch last week of a reconnaissance satellite violated UNSC sanctions banning Pyongyang from using ballistic missile technology.
In Wednesday’s statement, Kim replied, “The double-faced stand and behavior of the US – whose deeds are quite different from its words – are a vicious factor disturbing peace and stability in the region of the Korean peninsula along with double standards, the height of high-handed and arbitrary practices.”
Kim Jong-un has hailed the satellite launch as a major military breakthrough for North Korea, saying it heralded a “new era of space power.” KCNA reported on Tuesday that North Korea’s leader had reviewed images provided by the satellite showing “major target regions,” including US military bases, the Pentagon and the White House.