North Korea on Sunday called on the United States to stop pursuing pressure and military threats against the communist state, saying such moves would not be of any help to resolving the country's nuclear and missile programs.
"It would not be conducive to addressing the issue if the U.S. miscalculates the peace-loving intention of the DPRK as a sign of 'weakness' and continues to pursue its pressure and military threats against the latter," an unnamed spokesman for the North Korean foreign ministry said in an interview with the country's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). DPRK is the acronym for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The statement marks a rare criticism of Washington from the North in recent weeks, with the two countries preparing for an unprecedented summit between their leaders.
The meeting follows the first summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the border village of Panmunjom on April 27, where they affirmed the shared goal of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and agreed to push for a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War.
"Recently, the U.S. is misleading the public opinion, arguing as if the DPRK's clarification of its intention for denuclearization of the Korean peninsula made through the Panmunjom Declaration adopted at the historic North-South summit is the result of so-called sanctions and pressure," the spokesman said.
"At the same time, it is making open remarks that it would not ease the sanctions and pressure until the DPRK gives up its nuclear weapons completely and also moving to aggravate the situation on the Korean Peninsula by deploying strategic assets on the peninsula and increasing its attempt to taking up 'human rights' issue against the DPRK."
It appears to refer to the eight U.S. F-22 stealth fighter jets recently sent to participate in joint annual South Korea-U.S. air training.
The North then claimed Washington is "deliberately" provoking Pyongyang "at a time when the situation on the peninsula is moving toward peace and reconciliation thanks to the historic North-South summit and the Panmunjom Declaration."
"This act cannot be construed otherwise than a dangerous attempt to ruin the hardly-won atmosphere of dialogue and bring the situation back to square one," it said. (Yonhap)