North Korea says US is ‘hell-bent’ on hostility

Pyongyang statement comes just days after historic meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un
Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un shake hands before a meeting in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) in June
(Image credit: Dong-A Ilbo via Getty Images/Getty Images)

North Korea says the US is “hell-bent on hostile acts”, despite a recent agreement between the two countries to resume nuclear talks.

Just days after the countries’ leaders, Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, held a historic meeting in the heavily fortified demilitarised zone between North and South Korea, Pyongyang’s delegation to the UN said that Washington was “obsessed with sanctions”.

It also accused the US of attempting to “undermine the peaceful atmosphere” on the Korean peninsula and added that it was “quite ridiculous” for the US to view sanctions as a “panacea for all problems”.

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The BBC says the accusations “marked a shift in tone and a return to the angry exchanges that have marred relations between the countries in recent times”, while ITV adds that “there was nothing positive” in the statement “which made no mention of nuclear talks, focusing instead on sanctions”.

North Korea’s delegation said it was responding to an allegation from the US that it had breached a cap on refined petroleum imports that was set in 2017. It has an annual limit of 500,000 barrels, which is key for its economy.

It said it was also reacting to a joint letter sent by the US, France, Germany and the UK to all UN member states calling for further sanctions on the hermit kingdom. The same letter is believed to have asked all members to send expatriate North Korean workers home.

The North Korean statement said: “What can’t be overlooked is the fact that this joint letter game was carried out... on the very same day when President Trump proposed [a] summit meeting.

“[It] speaks to the reality that the United States is practically more and more hell-bent [on] hostile acts against the DPRK [North Korea]. All UN member states will have to keep vigilance against deliberate attempts by the United States to undermine the peaceful atmosphere that has been created on the Korean Peninsula.”

Although North Korea said the letter was sent on 29 June, it was in fact sent on 27 June. The US is yet to respond to the statement.

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