North Korea warns on US sanctions

SEOUL, Nucleararmed North Korea condemned the

United States over its latest sanctions measures, warning Washington's

approach could block the path to denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula

forever.

After a rapid diplomatic rapprochement this year that culminated in the

Singapore summit in June between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US

President Donald Trump, progress has stalled in talks on Pyongyang's nuclear

arsenal.

In Singapore the two men signed a vaguelyworded statement on

denuclearisation, but have since disagreed on what it means.

Now Pyongyang is demanding sanctions relief and condemning US insistence

on its nuclear disarmament as gangsterlike, while Washington is pushing to

maintain the measures against the North until its final, fully verified

denuclearisation.

Washington last week added three senior North Korean officials to those

subject to sanctions over human rights abuses, including Choe Ryong Hae, who

has been considered a righthand man to Kim.

In a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency, the North said

Trump had repeatedly expressed his desire to improve relations with

Pyongyang, but the US State Department was bent on bringing the DPRKUS

relations back to the status of last year which was marked by exchanges of

fire.

DPRK is the acronym for the North's official name.

In recent months highranking US politicians including Secretary of State

Mike Pompeo had almost every day slandered the DPRK out of sheer malice,

added the Sunday statement by the policy research director of the foreign

ministry's Institute for American Studies.

Using sanctions and pressure to drive us into giving up nuclear weapons

would be the greatest miscalculation, it added, and would block the path

to denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula forever.

A second summit between Trump and Kim who exchanged personal insults

and threats of war throughout 2017 is expected to be held next year, with

the US leader facing criticism over the planned talks since North Korea has

taken few concrete steps to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile

programmes.

Death anniversary

Pyongyang has long said it needs the weapons to deter a possible US

invasion, and has spent decades developing them, at a heavy cost in both

resources and the imposition of multiple sets of UN, US, EU and other

sanctions.

But on Monday its nuclear assets were conspicuous by their explicit

absence from coverage of the seventh anniversary of the death of Kim's father

and predecessor Kim Jong Il, on whose watch Pyongyang carried out its first

two nuclear tests.

Alongside extensive coverage of commemorative events across the country,

the Rodong Sinmun newspaper, the mouthpiece of the ruling Workers' Party,

published a lengthy editorial lauding Kim Jong Il's efforts to secure a firm

military assurance for peace and prosperity.

A year earlier, the same newspaper praised his immortal feat in building

a Juche nuclear power state.

Its front page was dominated by a large picture of soldiers and officials

including Kim paying their respects at his father's mausoleum, a sprawling

palace on the outskirts of the capital.

It was the leader's first public activity in two weeks after visiting a

shoe factory in Wonsan earlier this month.

Trump played down hopes Friday for any imminent deal to persuade Pyongyang

to give up its nuclear arsenal but he also expressed optimism, saying North

Korea's economy has wonderful potential and that Kim sees it better than

anyone and will fully take advantage of it for his people.

In actions required by Congress, his administration said last week it

would seize any US assets of the three officials for suppressing freedom of

speech.

Such restrictions may have little effect on individuals in one of the

world's most closed countries but have symbolic impact as North Korea seeks

greater acceptance by the United States.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)