'Compelled to Seek a New Path': Pyongyang to End Nuclear Moratorium Amid US Intransigence
North Korea asserted Tuesday that it would no longer adhere to the moratorium placed on its nuclear and ballistic missile tests, as the US has not held up it end of the agreement and has instead slapped Pyongyang with "the most brutal and inhumane sanctions."
Speaking before members of the UN-backed Conference on Disarmament, Ju Yong Chol, counselor at North Korea's mission to the UN, explained that the US' decision to apply sanctions against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), on top of failing to meet the end-of-December deadline for denuclearization talks, is representative of a "hostile policy" in which Pyongyang will no longer participate.
"We found no reason to be unilaterally bound any longer by the commitment that the other party fails to honor," he said, according to Seoul-based outlet Yonhap News Agency.
Ju pointed out that Pyongyang halted intercontinental ballistic missile tests in 2018 in an effort "to build confidence with the United States," as reported by Reuters. The DPRK's sixth and final nuclear test occurred on September 3, 2017 before the country placed a moratorium on those tests as well.
"If the US persists in such hostile policy towards the DPRK, there will never be the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," he 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."
Responding to Ju's remarks, US disarmament ambassador Robert Wood explained that he hopes Pyongyang "will do the right thing and come back to the table and try to work out an arrangement where by we can fulfill that pledge that was made by President Trump and Chairman Kim to denuclearize."
North Korea has previously expressed to the US that it is willing to denuclearize if Washington removes tens of thousands of US troops from the Korean Peninsula. However, nuclear-related talks between the two nations have been in limbo since Washington failed to make concessions during the October summit in Stockholm, Sweden.
Following a June 2018 agreement between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump in Singapore, the socialist government took several steps toward dismantling its missile and nuclear programs, dynamiting key facilities used for testing, but backed off from further measures when Washington indicated it would not reciprocate with similar steps toward ending economic sanctions on the country.
"We are disappointed that the United States did not put anything on the negotiation table. Now the United States has the responsibility to continue the negotiations," Foreign Minister Kim Myong Gil, who led the DPRK's delegation, said at the time.
Despite an end-of-December deadline for nuclear talks, the two nations have yet to return to the table. Earlier this month, Kim vowed that the "world will witness a new strategic weapon to be possessed by the DPRK in the near future" and asserted that Pyongyang cannot trade the "security of our future just for the visible economic results and happiness and comfort in reality, now that hostile acts and nuclear threat against us are increasing."
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