Pyongyang to boost nuclear program amid ‘US threats, unfulfilled promises’

Seoul, June 12 (efe-epa).- North Korea said Friday that it will reinforce its nuclear program in response to what it considers to be unfulfilled promises by the United States two years on from diplomatic rapprochement.

On the second anniversary of the Singapore Summit, the first held by the leaders of both countries, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Son-gwon released a message published by state news agency KCNA.

“The secure strategic goal of the DPRK is to build up more reliable force to cope with the long-term military threats from the US,” Ri said.

He added that the “hope for improved DPRK-US relations – which was high in the air under the global spotlight two years ago – has now been shifted into despair.”

North Korea has been tightening its stance with the US and South Korea in the past year after the failure of the Hanoi Summit on denuclearization, during which Washington considered the regime’s disarmament proposal insufficient.

The foreign minister said that the peoples of both countries continue to hope for a “a new cooperative era of peace and prosperity” but that the situation on the Korean Peninsula “is daily taking a turn for the worse.”

Ri went on to list concessions made by Pyongyang, such as the closure of the Punggye-ri nuclear testing site, the suspension of intercontinental missile launches, the repatriation of the remains of US soldiers killed in the Korean War, and the release of Americans detained in North Korea.

The foreign minister added that in return, so far, Washington has done “nothing but accumulat(e) its political achievements” and made a clear reference to the posts – and the tone used in them – of US President Donald Trump on Twitter.

“Never again will we provide the US chief executive with another package to be used for achievements without receiving any returns. Nothing is more hypocritical than an empty promise,” Ri said.

The North Korean politician believes that his country sees no improvement to be made in ties “simply by maintaining personal relations between our Supreme Leadership and the US President” and questioned “whether there will be a need to keep holding hands shaken in Singapore.”

Ri added that the North “is still on the US list of targets for preemptive nuclear strike, and all kinds of nuclear strike tools held by the US are aimed directly at the DPRK,” pointing to strategic aircraft carriers and bombers in the area, an apparent reference to the B-1, which is technically no longer equipped with atomic bombs, but which Washington deployed again in May at its air base in Guam. EFE-EPA


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