N. Korea says it feels no need to ‘sit face to face with US’

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un meet in the demilitarized zone on 30 June. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SEOUL, Jul 4, 2020, Yonhap. North Korea feels no need to meet with the United States for talks, a top diplomat of the communist nation said Saturday, accusing Washington of taking advantage of dialogue between the two countries only as “a tool for grappling its political crisis,” Yonhap News Agency reported.

First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui made the remark as talk of another summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un gained traction recently after President Moon Jae-in said he would push for such a meeting to happen before November’s U.S. presidential election.

Former U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton also said Trump could meet with Kim if he believes a summit would help his reelection chances. Such a meeting could happen as an “October surprise” just before the election, he said.

“Now is a very sensitive time when even the slightest misjudgment and misstep would incur fatal and irrevocable consequences. We cannot but be shocked at the story about the summit indifferent to the present situation of the DPRK-U.S. relations,” Choe said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency in English.

The U.S. would be mistaken if it still thinks “negotiations would still work on us,” Choe said, adding the North has already “worked out detailed strategic timetable for putting under control the long-term threat from the U.S.”

“There will never be any adjustment and change in our policy, conditional on external parameters like internal political schedule of someone,” she said. “We do not feel any need to sit face to face with the U.S., as it does not consider the DPRK-U.S. dialogue as nothing more than a tool for grappling its political crisis.”

Trump and Kim have met three times since June 2018 to try to reach a deal on dismantling North Korea’s nuclear weapons program in exchange for U.S. concessions.

At the first summit in Singapore in 2018, the two leaders agreed to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, better bilateral relations and a lasting peace regime.

But their second summit in Hanoi in February last year ended without an agreement.

The two leaders met again four months later at the inter-Korean border and agreed to resume working-level negotiations. The two sides held working-level talks in Stockholm in October, but no progress was made.

“There is a person who thoughtlessly voices an intention to mediate the summit, utterly regardless of what we, the dialogue party, would think of it, and there is rumor that the U.S. ruling quarters admits the need to hold DPRK-U.S. summit before the U.S. presidential election,” Choe said.

“There are even some dreamers hoping to leverage our denuclearization measures for conditional lift of sanctions, while raising hope for ‘October surprise,'” she said.

Choe also said there is no point in holding talks or having any dealings with the U.S., claiming that Washington persists in what it calls the “hostile policy toward the DPRK in disregard of the agreements already made at the past summit.”

“It is clear to us, even without meeting, with what shallow trick the U.S. will approach us as it has neither intention nor will to go back to the drawing board,” she said.

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