Written by Staff Writer
North Korea says in a statement posted to the state media Wednesday that the United States is trying to “tamper with a dangerous time bomb” and that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has tried to pressure Pyongyang into making unrealistic expectations about the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The statement is Pyongyang’s first response to the statement issued in US President Donald Trump’s name Tuesday by Pompeo, who said he was not as optimistic about the chances of getting North Korea to denuclearize as he’d originally thought.
Pompeo’s remarks came after negotiations with Pyongyang came to a halt last month and his trip to North Korea collapsed with no agreement between the US and North Korea.
“The US Department of State is known to be using threats, propaganda, sanctions and other tactics against the DPRK, namely the charge that we are trying to disarm before the DPRK dismantles its own nuclear facilities and simultaneously trying to hurt the interests of the DPRK,” the North Korean statement reads.
“The fact is that on the one hand, the US repeatedly assures to the DPRK that it wants to maintain peace and security on the Korean Peninsula, while on the other hand its allies such as Japan and the ROK do all they can to evade from their military exercises with the US on the Korean Peninsula and to maintain their military and other alliances,” the statement says.
The world, North Korea says, should not believe that the Trump administration is talking about normalizing relations with the Hermit Kingdom.
“This allegation would not be beyond comprehension. If it were real, none of the main players in the diplomatic mechanism would have ever got the chance to carry out their missions smoothly and effectively,” the statement reads.
North Korea calls Pompeo a liar
In an earlier statement, North Korea’s foreign ministry said that the comments made by Pompeo were “reckless,” “exaggerated,” “imaginary,” “propaganda” and “a pure fabrication from Washington.”
It said Pompeo’s remarks were, “twisted as part of Washington’s continuous efforts to use an illegitimate means of pressure and pressure to put obstacles in the way of the DPRK’s return to the path of denuclearization.”
“We unequivocally reject such remarks made by the US leadership on denuclearization,” the statement reads.
The statement continued that the North Korean government “can neither allow such remarks to stand nor accept the wrongful allegation.”
North Korea blames the US for the breakdown of the negotiations and blamed the US side for the recent hiatus of its work.
“Continuous charades and propaganda aimed at trying to label the recent hiatus in the activities of the DPRK side are manifested by wild lies and ignorant remarks coming from the US side.”
The state’s Foreign Ministry said the US was hiding behind its allies, claiming Japan and the ROK would have a greater interest in talking to the US than North Korea.
The US wants “to carry out undisguised hostile actions against the DPRK which do not meet the demands of the international community and work for the legitimization of the US hard-line policy and successive war provocations,” the statement reads.
North Korea accuses Pompeo of wasting his time
In his comments, Pompeo said he felt optimistic about a significant deal being struck with North Korea, and reiterated a vow to bring back US prisoners that have been held in North Korea since the 1980s.
He made his remarks to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington on Tuesday.
But the Washington Post has reported that North Korea is considering temporary suspension of nuclear testing and possibly the release of American detainees in return for the US reducing its military presence in the region.
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry calls the report “groundless” and said the US side was “trying to find excuses” for its “erratic behavior,” according to the statement.
“The DPRK stands resolute to defend its dignity, independence and sovereignty and will not abandon the way chosen by it for safeguarding itself,” the statement says.
In April, Trump pulled the US out of the historic summit between Kim Jong Un and the then-President Barack Obama and Kim committed to giving up his nuclear weapons.
The administration then began developing a strategy focused on the removal of economic sanctions against North Korea, as well as engagement with the country through diplomatic efforts.
But last month, after a breakdown in the negotiations, Pompeo said, “I wouldn’t call it a summit” and accused North Korea of a failure to allow him to visit.