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North Korea: 'Bizarre' U.S. must show signs of denuclearization

By
Elizabeth Shim
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12, 2018, at Singapore's Capella Hotel. File Photo by Shealah Craighead/UPI
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12, 2018, at Singapore's Capella Hotel. File Photo by Shealah Craighead/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 20 (UPI) -- North Korea warned the United States on Thursday in a statement that tied sanctions with the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

In remarks published on KCNA, the Kim Jong Un regime stated the country is unafraid of sanctions and that it is "better to find a new route than to hit a barrier on a well-worn path."

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"We are not afraid or mired in pain over sanctions," the KCNA statement read.

"We have been under U.S. sanctions for half a century...we will not be moved even if heavier sanctions are implemented for a hundred or a thousand years."

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North Korea also questioned U.S. willingness to "denuclearize the Korean Peninsula." The two sides had made indefinite agreements on some form of denuclearization in June -- a measure that was followed by the postponement of several U.S.-South Korean defense exercises.

"Whether or not there is a genuine intention to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula is a question we must ask the United States," KCNA said. "If the United States wishes to denuclearize the peninsula, would it act as bizarrely as it is now?"

The statement went on to blame sanctions and "pressure on human rights" for provoking North Korea and its "high pride." KCNA said the U.S. think tank report on an undeclared missile base, released in November, is an example of a "ridiculous excuse" to break the process of improved relations and denuclearization.

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North Korea's statement is being understood among some analysts in the South as a sign Pyongyang's official position on denuclearization is different from the interpretations of the South Korean government.

Yonhap reported Thursday South Korean President Moon Jae-in's administration issued national security guidelines, the fourth document of its kind in South Korean history.

The guidelines stress the importance of Seoul's "peacemaking role" amid inter-Korea exchange, and a strong defense posture that is the foundation of the U.S.-South Korea alliance, according to the report.

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