North Korea Rejects Biden Outreach, Cites Hostility


North Korea said Thursday it will ignore a U. S. offer for talks unless it withdraws its hostile policy, after Washington reached out to Pyongyang in a bid to resume nuclear negotiations.

The statement by Choe Son Hui, the first vice foreign minister, came hours before the U. S. and South Korean foreign and defense chiefs met in Seoul for their first joint talks in five years to discuss North Korea’s nuclear program.

“What has been heard from the U. S. since the emergence of the new regime is only a lunatic theory of ‘threat from North Korea’ and groundless rhetoric about ‘complete denuclearization,’” Choe said, calling the offer for talks a “time-delaying trick.”

He reiterated North Korea’s position that no “dialogue of any kind” can be possible unless the United States rolls back its hostility. “Therefore, we will disregard such an attempt of the U. S. in the future, too.”

U. S.-led diplomacy focusing on North Korea’s nuclear weapons remains stalemated for about two years because of disputes over U.S.-led sanctions. Experts are debating whether the United States and its allies should settle for a deal that would freeze North Korea’s nuclear activities in return for relaxing sanctions to prevent its arsenal from growing.

Earlier this week, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un threatened to abandon rapprochement with South Korea and warned the United States to “refrain from causing a stink,” while criticizing regular U. S.-South Korean military drills that her government views as an invasion rehearsal.

Choe again took issue with this month’s drills, saying that the United States “openly started aggression-minded joint military exercises targeting us.”

Some experts say North Korea, which is eager to win sanctions relief, may further raise animosities with missile tests to boost its leverage in any negotiations with the United States. North Korea’s moribund economy is under additional pressure because of the pandemic-related border closure that has significantly shrunk its external trade and a spate of natural disasters last summer.

Moon Hong-sik, a deputy spokesman at South Korea‘s Defense Ministry, told reporters Thursday there haven’t… (Read more)

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