N. Korea says dialogue with U.S. ‘impossible’ unless Washington drops ‘hostile policy’

US President Donald Trump steps into the northern side of the Military Demarcation Line that divides North and South Korea, as North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un looks on. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SEOUL, Nov 20, 2019, Yonhap. North Korea’s chief nuclear negotiator said Tuesday that dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington is “impossible” unless the United States makes a “bold decision to drop the hostile policy” against the communist nation, Yonhap reported.

Kim Myong-gil made the remarks in an interview with the Korean Central News Agency, unveiling that the U.S. recently offered through Sweden to hold a new round of talks in December after October’s working-level negotiations in Stockholm.

“As we have already reiterated several times, the DPRK-U.S. dialogue is impossible unless the U.S. makes a bold decision to drop the hostile policy towards the DPRK,” Kim was quoted as saying. DPRK stands for the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Kim also said that Sweden “no longer needs to work for” the U.S.-North Korea dialogue, adding it is “not for lack of communication channel or mediator” that the next negotiations have not been held yet.

The negotiator said that the U.S. appears to have made the dialogue offer through Sweden in order “not to give impression that it fawns on” the North.

Kim’s interview marked the North’s third announcement pressuring the U.S. in less than 24 hours.

On Monday, a former chief nuclear envoy of the North, Kim Kye-gwan, issued a statement saying the North is no longer interested in holding another summit with Washington, arguing that Pyongyang gained “nothing” from the previous meetings.

The statement was followed by a separate release by another former nuclear negotiator, Kim Yong-chol, just hours later, which said the U.S. “should not even dream of” having negotiations with the North before dropping its “hostile policy” against Pyongyang.

A unification ministry official earlier said North Korea appears to be increasing pressure on the U.S. by releasing a series of statements stressing their stance ahead of the resumption of their nuclear talks.

After the second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un collapsed without a deal in February, the North has warned that it will seek a “new way” unless Washington comes up with a new proposal by year’s end.

The U.S. and North Korea held their last working-level talks in Stockholm in early October, but the meeting ended without much progress, with Pyongyang accusing Washington of failing to come up with a new proposal.

After the breakdown of the talks, Sweden said it plans to send new invitations to the two countries, adding that it will remain “proactive” to encourage them to meet again.

South Korea and the U.S. announced Sunday the postponement of their joint air exercises that had been set for later this month to back the diplomatic efforts, but Pyongyang also scoffed at the move, saying it wants such drills stopped completely.

By Choi Soo-hyang

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