North Korea chides USA for following ‘outdated acting script’

Geneva Stokes
August 10, 2018

North Korea accused the United States on Thursday of pushing for worldwide sanctions despite goodwill moves by Pyongyang and said progress on denuclearization promises could not be expected if Washington continues to follow an "outdated acting script".

North Korea's foreign ministry said Pyongyang had stopped nuclear and missile tests, dismantled a nuclear test ground and returned the remains of some USA soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War.

A statement from the nation's Foreign Ministry said that following President Trump's June summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the North has worked to improve relations between the two countries and "make active contributions to peace, security, and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula and over the world".

FILE - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, greets North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho as they prepare for a group photo at the 25th ASEAN Regional Forum Retreat in Singapore, Aug. 4, 2018. "North Korea has not taken the steps we feel are necessary to denuclearise".

"We hoped that these goodwill measures would contribute to breaking down the high barrier of mistrust" between Pyongyang and Washington, the North's Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.

North Korea has lashed out at the U.S. for continuing to push for sanctions enforcement.

With such moves, "one can not expect any progress in the implementation of North Korea-US joint statement including the denuclearization, and furthermore, there is no guarantee that the hard-won atmosphere of stability on the Korean Peninsula will continue", said the spokesperson.

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The statement cited US officials who are "going against President Trump" and his intent to advance relations between the two nations, saying that the president has expressed "gratitude to our goodwill measures" implemented as part of the agreement.

In another case, black coal imported from North Korea was transferred to the Russian port of Kholmsk, where it was "disguised as semi-coking coal that does not need country of origin documents", before being reloaded on ships heading to the South, the customs office said.

"In the current situation, friendly countries should develop their relations and cooperation in (the) worldwide community", he said, adding Iran and North Korea have "always had close views" on many issues.

It wasn't clear who would attend next week's talks, but such meetings have typically been handled in the past by South Korea's unification minister and his counterpart in the North.

North Korea's nuclear weapons program has caused worldwide tension for decades and the rhetoric and threats from Kim and Trump had been especially hostile before their June meeting.

South Korea said a total of 35,000 tons of North Korean coal and pig iron worth $5.8 million illegally entered its ports a year ago, in possible violations of United Nations sanctions.

Officials said they were also looking into whether any of the 14 vessels that transported North Korean coal violated sanctions banning such shipments.

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