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North Korean official calls on U.S. to end sanctions, pressure

By Jennie Oh
North Korean official calls on U.S. to end sanctions, pressure
Ri Jong-hyok, director of North Korea's National Reunification Institute, arrives at the Beijing international airport, China, 20 March 2018, on his way to Switzerland. The North's Korean Central News Agency said Ri will attend the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) conference in Geneval. Photo by Yonhap.

SEOUL, March 27 (UPI) -- A North Korean official has urged the United States to end sanctions and pressure on Pyongyang, NHK reported Tuesday.

Ri Jong-hyok, a member of the North's Supreme People's Assembly, spoke on Monday at the Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting in Geneva.

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The official addressed the meeting between regime leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in's envoys earlier this month when Kim reportedly suggested he meet with Moon in late-April.

Ri said the North's efforts to improve relations with the South and achieve peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula is now enjoying a "broad spectrum of support" around the world.

While he did not mention the anticipated summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim in May, he said it is time for Washington to halt its hostile policy of sanctions and pressure.

During his stay in Geneva for the five-day conference, the Pyongyang official is said to have met with delegates from Syria and Mongolia which have friendly ties with the North, and was presented with a gift from a South Korean legislator.

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