Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - North Korea criticises ‘alarming’ US impatience



North Korea criticises ‘alarming’ US impatience

North Korea criticises ‘alarming’ US impatience

North Korea on Saturday said the US was acting with “alarming” impatience on the issue of denuclearisation, after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed the need to maintain full sanctions pressure on Pyongyang.

The contrasting comments at a security forum in Singapore came after a new UN report showed Pyongyang was continuing with its nuclear and missile programmes and evading sanctions through ship-to-ship oil transfers.

At historic talks with President Donald Trump in June, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un signed up to a vague commitment to “denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula” – a far cry from long-standing US demands for complete, verifiable and irreversible disarmament.

While US officials have publicly been optimistic about the agreement, Pyongyang appears to have made little substantial progress and concerns have been growing that some UN member states have been easing sanctions.

At the Asean Regional Forum, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho insisted North Korea stood “firm in its determination and commitment” to implement the June agreement signed in Singapore.

But he criticised the US for undermining confidence in the process: “What is alarming, however, is the insistent moves manifested within the US to go back to the old, far from its leader’s intention.”

Since the June agreement, Pyongyang had taken “goodwill measures”, including a halt on nuclear and missile tests and “dismantling a nuclear test ground”, he said.

Sanctions worries

“However, the United States, instead of responding to these measures, is raising its voice louder for maintaining the sanctions against the DPRK,” Ri said, using the initials of the North’s official name.

“As long as the US does not show in practice its strong will to remove our concerns, there will be no case whereby we will move forward first unilaterally.”

Ri also accused the US of “extremely inappropriate” behaviour by putting pressure on countries not to send high-level delegations to celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of North Korea in September.

It was not the first time the North has appeared unhappy at what it sees at US impatience to push them quickly along the path of denuclearisation.

When Pompeo met with North Korean officials in Pyongyang last month, they condemned his “gangster-like” insistence that the North move towards unilateral disarmament.

Earlier at the same forum, Pompeo said he was emphasising to countries “the importance of maintaining diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea” but also said he was “optimistic” about the prospects for progress when it came to North Korean denuclearisation.

Saturday’s forum, hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, brings together top diplomats from 26 countries and the EU for talks on political issues in the Asia-Pacific.

As well as the US and North Korea, it includes foreign ministers from China, Russia, South Korea and Japan, all countries traditionally involved in efforts to curtail the North’s nuclear ambition.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting