SEOUL: North Korea said on Thursday the United States had nothing to offer it in possible renewed talks aimed at getting Pyongyang to give up its nuclear and missile programs after Washington said it was ready to take “concrete steps” toward securing a deal.
It criticised the United States for convening a U.N. Security Council meeting on Wednesday, calling it a “foolish thing” which would help Pyongyang to make a clear decision on which path it would take.
“The U.S. talks about dialogue, whenever it opens its mouth, but it is too natural that the U.S. has nothing to present before us though dialogue may open,” North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson said in a statement carried by the state news agency KCNA.
The 15-member Security Council met as concerns grow internationally that North Korea could resume nuclear or long-range missile testing, suspended since 2017, because denuclearization talks between Pyongyang and Washington have stalled.
The U.S. envoy to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, said the United States was ready “to simultaneously take concrete steps” toward a deal on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs but she added that the Security Council must be prepared to respond to any provocations.
“The U.S. talked about a ‘corresponding measure’ in the meeting. However, as we already declared, we have nothing to lose more and we are ready to take a countermeasure corresponding to anything that the U.S. opts for,” the Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.
North Korea also defended its right to missile and weapons tests, while calling the United States “bandit-like” in the statement.
U.S. Special Representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, is expected to visit Seoul next week to meet South Korean officials, leading to speculation he could try to salvage talks by reaching out to North Korea ahead of the deadline.
Meanwhile, China’s U.N. ambassador, Zhang Jun, said on Wednesday it was imperative the Security Council ease sanctions on North Korea in a bid to support talks between Pyongyang and Washington and “head off a dramatic reversal” of the situation.
North Korea has said it will wait until the end of the year for the United States to drop its “hostile policy” toward Pyongyang, and to offer something other than demands for unilateral disarmament.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has said he could decide to take an unspecified “new path” if the United States fails to offer a compromise.