N. Korea accuses US of dragging feet, threatens 'shocking' action
In key party meeting, North Korean leader says his country is not obligated to maintain suspension of nuclear weapon and missile tests
SEOUL : North Korean leader Kim Jong Un accused the Trump administration of dragging its feet in nuclear negotiations and warned that his country will soon show a new strategic weapon to the world as it bolsters its nuclear deterrent in the face of "gangster-like" US pressure.
In a key ruling party conference, Mr Kim also threatened "shocking" action and said North Korea would no longer be obligated to maintain a self-imposed suspension on the testing of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles, which US President Donald Trump has touted as a major diplomatic accomplishment.
But Mr Kim gave no clear indication that the restarting of such tests was imminent and seemed to leave the door open for eventual negotiations.
Mr Kim's comments during a four-day plenary meeting of the Workers' Party's Central Committee, which were published by state media yesterday, come as talks falter between Washington and Pyongyang over disagreements involving disarmament steps and the removal of sanctions imposed on North Korea.
The prolonged standstill has dimmed hopes for achieving a full and verifiable denuclearisation of the country through diplomacy.
Mr Kim declared during the party meeting that the North will never give up its security for economic benefits in the face of what he described as increasing US hostility and nuclear threats, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
"(Mr Kim) said that we will never allow the impudent US to abuse the DPRK-US dialogue for meeting its sordid aim but will shift to a shocking actual action to make it pay for the pains sustained by our people so far and for the development so far restrained," the agency said, referring to the North by its formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Mr Kim added that "if the US persists in its hostile policy towards the DPRK, there will never be denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula and the DPRK will steadily develop necessary and prerequisite strategic weapons for the security of the state until the US rolls back its hostile policy," KCNA said.
"(Mr Kim) confirmed that the world will witness a new strategic weapon to be possessed by the DPRK in the near future, declaring that we cannot give up 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," the report said.
When asked about his diplomacy with North Korea as he walked into a New Year's party on Tuesday night, Mr Trump urged Mr Kim to stick to his alleged commitment to denuclearise.
"Look, he likes me, I like him, we get along," Mr Trump said. "But he did sign a contract, he did sign an agreement talking about denuclearisation... I think he is a man of his word so we are going to find out, but I think he is a man of his word."
While Mr Kim in his remarks at the party meeting gave no clear indication he was abandoning negotiations with the US entirely or restarting the suspended tests, he said North Korea's efforts to bolster its deterrent will be "properly coordinated" depending on future US attitudes. - AP