TOKYO – North Korea has threatened to resume development of its nuclear weapons program if the United States does not lift sanctions, underscoring one of the biggest potential stumbling blocks in Washington's diplomatic ties with Kim Jong Un.
The Trump government has insisted that sanctions and other constraints in North Korea persist until they dismantle their nuclear program. However, Kim's regime has always called for a gradual process of denuclearization that would include the lifting of US sanctions along the way.
A statement issued by the North Korean Foreign Ministry on late Friday is the latest indication that negotiations over the Pyongyang nuclear program have reached a dead end.
The issue of sanctions has also created a gap between Seoul and Washington.
South Korea has supported the North's call for sanctions and wants to launch an ambitious program of economic development and cooperation, including the construction of road and rail links across the heavily militarized border.
The North Korean Foreign Ministry warned that if sanctions were not lifted and Washington ceased behaving "arrogantly", North Korea could reinstate "pyongjin" – its policy of developing its nuclear weapons program in addition to seeking economic development.
In April, North Korean leader Kim said the country's nuclear weapons program was sufficiently advanced, and that the Pyongjin policy would be replaced by a single focus on improving the economy. Backtracking could lead to tensions with the United States.
Nevertheless, no side has turned its back on the negotiations.
Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo told reporters that he would be meeting with his North Korean "colleague" next week, although he did not specify when, where or with whom these talks would take place.
Pompeo met Kim in Pyongyang last month. He promised to allow American inspectors in two nuclear and missile test rigs to verify their disassembly.
Pompeo said last week on "The Laura Ingraham Show" that a summit meeting between Kim and President Trump could take place early next year, "allowing a significant break-through in eliminating the nuclear threat from North Korea".
"We are still happy that they have not carried out a nuclear test for a long time and have not fired a rocket for a long time," Pompeo said, adding that Kim had made him realize he intended to make the nuclear but there is still a lot left to do.
In an interview with Sean Hannity in the Fox News on Friday, Pompeo reaffirmed that "still much to do" was, but he added, "I am confident that we will maintain the economic pressure until Chairman Kim fulfills his commitment to President Trump in Singapore in June. "
This often repeated pressure on pressure is the problem in Pyongyang's eyes. North Korea argues that Trump Kim had promised in June that a new era in relations would begin.
"The improvement of relations and sanctions are incompatible," said the Foreign Ministry comment. "Friendship" is not compatible with "Print". "
She called on Washington to give up its "stupid daydream", which would lead to sanctions and pressure for denuclearization. "We can not help laughing at such a stupid idea," he said.
The United States made a big mistake in considering that North Korea would agree to unilateral disarmament as long as sanctions exist, arguing that the negotiations should be "simultaneous and gradual" based on "reciprocity and equality". "
"If the US continues to act arrogantly without changing its position while not fully understanding the repeated demand, the DPRK can add part of the state's policy that directs all efforts to economic development decided in April. The word "pyongjin" could happen again, "the statement said, with the acronym of North Korea's official name" Democratic People's Republic of Korea. "
"The US will be able to avoid the wretched future that can only harm itself and the world if it abandons the flying desire and the one-sided view," she wrote.