North Korea and the US are taking contrasting stances on bilateral relations on Friday, the two-year anniversary of the first meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
On Friday, the North continued to ratchet up the rhetoric, and hinted at the possibility of a provocation involving its nuclear weapons program.
Ri Son-gwon, the North’s foreign minister, stated through the Korean Central News Agency that North Korea will not give into US demands and that the country will strengthen its nuclear deterrence.
Ri also hinted that the US-North Korea agreement signed June 12, 2018, in Singapore could be scrapped. Saying Pyongyang-Washington relations have not improved, he asked “what need is there to keep holding the hands that shook in Singapore?”
As Pyongyang continues its rhetoric, the US maintained it remains open to “meaningful negotiations.”
“The United States is committed to engaging the DPRK in meaningful negotiations so that North Koreans can realize a brighter future,” an official with the US Department of State was quoted as saying by a local news agency.
“That offer remains on the table. We are willing to take a flexible approach to reach a balanced agreement on all of the Singapore summit commitments.”
After the meeting, Trump and Kim signed a joint statement outlining the direction of bilateral relations.
The four main points in the statement were establishing relations between the two countries for peace and prosperity, cooperating to achieve lasting peace, the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and returning the remains of those who died during the Korean War.
However, the agreement has led to little progress. The North has returned the remains of some US war dead and dismantled facilities related to its missile and nuclear weapons programs, but Pyongyang is now reverting to its belligerent stance toward the South and the US.
In addition, evidence has emerged suggesting that significant portions of the North’s weapons programs were never dismantled and that Pyongyang may be restarting its missile programs.
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org