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NK blasts UN chief, warns against Trump

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (AFP)
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (AFP)



North Korea on Friday accused the United Nations chief of “drunken” behavior, and suggested it would no longer provide the US president with propaganda opportunities without getting anything in return.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he regretted that North Korea had severed its hotlines with South Korea, warning that such channels “are necessary to avoid misunderstandings or miscalculations,” a UN spokesman told reporters Wednesday, New York time.

“We cannot but express our astonishment over such reckless remarks -- devoid of the common sense of judgment, let alone the basic knowledge of inter-Korean relations -- coming out from the center of the United Nations,” a spokesperson for the North’s Foreign Ministry told its state news agency.

Pyongyang cut all communication lines with Seoul on Tuesday after condemning the South for failing to stop defectors from sending leaflets and other items into the North.

“It is only the UN Secretary-General himself who would know whether he is pretending to blind himself to the articles of inter-Korean agreement on ceasing all hostilities against the other party or pretending to be knowingly drunken,” the spokesperson said.

Insisting that the UN chief should denounce South Korea instead, the spokesperson accused Guterres of currying favor with the US by expressing “inappropriate and biased views.”

The spokesperson said Guterres’ remarks “cannot be overlooked,” adding: “We never pardon anyone who dares to point a finger at our most precious and sacred Supreme Leadership.”

North Korea also said Friday that it would build a “more reliable” force against military threats from the US, accusing Washington of worsening relations since the summit in Singapore two years ago between its leader, Kim Jong-un, and US President Donald Trump.

Pyongyang will “never again” provide Trump with “another package” that he can claim as one of his achievements, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Son-gwon said in a statement carried by the North’s Korean Central News Agency.

“The secure strategic goal of the DPRK is to build up more reliable force to cope with the long-term military threats from the US. This is our reply message to the US on the occasion of second anniversary of June 12,” Ri said.

“What stands out is that the hope for improved DPRK-US relations -- which was high in the air under the global spotlight two years ago -- has now been shifted into despair.”

On Thursday, a US State Department spokesperson told Yonhap News that the US remains committed to engaging the North in negotiations, and is open to “a flexible approach to reach a balanced agreement on all of the Singapore summit commitments.”

Ri said it was questionable whether “there will be a need to keep holding hands shaken in Singapore” as the North sees that “there is nothing of factual improvement to be made in the DPRK-US relations simply by maintaining personal relations” between Kim and Trump.

“In retrospect, all the practices of the present US administration so far are nothing but accumulating its political achievements. Never again will we provide the US chief executive with another package to be used for achievements without receiving any returns.”

By Kim So-hyun (sophie@heraldcorp.com)
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