North Korea has walked away from nuclear talks with the United States, saying a 2019 year-end deadline for the talks had been ignored so it no longer felt bound by commitments, which included a halt to its nuclear testing and the firing of inter-continental ballistic missiles.
- North Korea has accused the United States of taking a “hostile” policy towards them over denuclearisation
- North Korea in the past has rejected unilateral disarmament
- North Korea has once again suggested it would seek a “new path” on the issue
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had earlier set a December 31 deadline for denuclearisation talks with the US and White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said at the time the US had opened channels of communication.
Mr O’Brien said he hoped Kim would follow through on denuclearisation commitments he made at summits with US President Donald Trump.
However, that now would appear to be off the table with North Korea announcing at the United Nations-backed Conference on Disarmament that it was no longer interested in talks.
“We found no reason to be unilaterally bound any longer by the commitment that the other party fails to honour,” Ju Yong Chol said while in Geneva.
Speaking as the envoy from the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK), he accused the US of applying “the most brutal and inhuman sanctions”.
“If the US persists in such hostile policy towards the DPRK there will never be the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula,” Mr Ju added.
“If the United States tries to enforce unilateral demands and persists in imposing sanctions, North Korea may be compelled to seek a new path.”
North Korea warned in December that it may take an unspecified “new path” if the US failed to meet its expectations with a new approach to negotiations.
That was followed by a threat from Kim Jong Un that North Korea may take “shocking” action if the Trump administration did not engage with the state on its nuclear program.
US military commanders speculated the move could include the testing of a long-range missile, which North Korea has suspended since 2017, along with nuclear warhead tests.
Pyongyang has rejected unilateral disarmament and given no indication that it is willing to go beyond statements of broad support for the concept of universal denuclearisation.
It has said in previous, failed talks, that it could consider giving up its arsenal if the US provided security guarantees by removing its troops from South Korea and withdrew its so-called nuclear umbrella of deterrence from South Korea and Japan.