N Korea warns US of ‘undesired consequences’ if it does not change course

02-May-2019 Intellasia | The Telegraphz | 6:00 AM Print This Post

North Korea has told the US it will face “undesired consequences” if it fails to readjust its position on nuclear disarmament, in the latest of a series of warnings to Washington and its allies in recent months.

Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, earlier this month issued a end of the year ultimatum to resolve stalled negotiations over the dismantlement of his nuclear and missiles programme after direct talks with Donald Trump, the US president, in Hanoi in February did not produce a deal.

The apparent dismissal of Kim’s deadline by Trump and Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, has raised heckles in Pyongyang, which last week demanded Pompeo be replaced in denuclearisation talks by somebody “more mature.”

On Tuesday, Choe Son Hui, North Korea’s foreign minister criticised a Pompeo interview last week with CBS in which he said the United States may have to “change paths” if the negotiations break down.

“Changing paths is not a privilege that only the United States has, but it could be our own choice if we make up our mind,” Ms Choe was quoted as saying by the state-sanctioned KCNA news agency.

“If the United States fails to reestablish its position within the timeline we gave, it will see truly undesired consequences.” She added that North Korea remained committed to denuclearisation but only if the US took a different course.

Pyongyang wants a step-by-step approach, where sanctions can be eased in exchange for dismantling some of its nuclear facilities but Trump is doubling down on his demands for a “big deal” that would only grant economic relief if Kim hands over all of his nuclear weapons.

“We know the path we will take, but we’re just hesitating to choose as we have set the deadline for the United States,” said Ms Choe.

North Korea has been consistently warning this year that it may disengage from diplomatic talks if no progress is made.

In his New Year’s address, Kim Jong-un said he hoped to continue denuclearisation negotiations with Trump that cautioned that he could be forced to take a “new path” if the US persisted with crippling economic sanctions and “misjudges our patience” with “unilateral demands.”

Pyongyang has also been ramping up its criticism of South Korea, in a sign that renewed diplomatic ties between the neighbouring countries are wearing thin.

Last week the North lashed out at Seoul for its “open perfidy” participating in a joint military drill with the US, threatening that there could be a “response from our army.”

Writing on the 38 North website, North Korea scholar Robert Carlin said the singling out of the South Korean “authorities” for criticism revealed a downturn in relations.

“Typically, during periods when inter-Korean dialogue is in a positive phase, the North generally keeps its complaints against the South aimed at the “military.” The shift to direct criticism of the “authorities” is a signal of how much the atmosphere for inter-Korean dialogue has frayed,” he wrote.

Pompeo, meanwhile, told Fox news he is still “hopeful” about the prospects of progress on denuclearisation but said the ball was in Pyongyang’s court.

“We’re prepared to engage in conversations to arrive at a process by which the North Koreans can see their way clear to fulfilling the commitment that Chair Kim made back in Singapore in June of last year,” he added, referring to the first summit between the North Korean and US leaders.

That summit concluded that the two nations would “work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula” but did not agree on the ways to do so.

When asked about the North Korean calls for him to be dropped from the talks, Pompeo confirmed that he was still leading the US negotiating team.

“We don’t get to decide who my counterpart is, and President Trump gets to decide who will represent America,” he said.



Category: Korea

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