North Korea said it was not interested in talks with the United States just so President Donald Trump had something to brag about, unless Washington offers new concessions in their nuclear negotiations.
The comment on Monday by senior North Korean official Kim Kye Gwan, who is a former vice foreign minister, came after Trump on the weekend called on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to “act quickly” and hinted at another meeting.
Kim, in a statement carried by the state KCNA news agency, said he had seen the November 17 Twitter post by Trump signalling another summit but added little had improved despite three meetings between the two leaders.
“We no longer have interest in talks that have no benefit for us,” he said.
“We will not give anything for the US president to brag about as we have received nothing in return, and we want to receive the benefits of the accomplishments that President Trump is crediting himself for,” Kim said.
Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met for the first time in a landmark summit in Singapore in June last year to push forward negotiations the United States hopes will lead to Pyongyang’s dismantling of its nuclear and missile programmes, in exchange for the lifting of punishing international sanctions.
The talks have made no significant progress since a second summit between Trump and Kim collapsed in Vietnam in February, even though the two leaders agreed in June, at a third meeting, to reopen negotiations.
In April, Kim set a year-end deadline for the US to show more flexibility, raising concern North Korea could resume nuclear and long-range missile testing, which it has suspended since 2017.
Kim Kye Gwan said the US must make a decisive move to abandon its hostile policy if it genuinely wanted dialogue.
In his Twitter message, Trump urged Kim Jong Un to “get the deal done” signing off “See you soon!”
The message came hours after the US and South Korea announced they were postponing military exercises in an effort to bolster the stalled peace push. North Korea denounces such war games as preparation for an invasion.
On Sunday, it also said a recent UN resolution on its human rights conditions was an obstacle to new US talks.
Working-level talks between the two sides in October ended with the North Korean envoy accusing the Americans of coming to the table empty-handed.
On Monday, the North’s Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui travelled to Russia, a trip that analysts said could be to discuss strategy for the US negotiations.
This month, North Korea said it had turned down a US offer for more talks, saying it was not interested if they were aimed at “appeasing us” before the deadline.
“For Kim Jong Un, having set a year-end deadline himself, it is most important to meet it,” said Cho Han-bum, senior research fellow at Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul.
While North Korea wants the sanctions lifted, the US has insisted Kim must dismantle his nuclear weapons programme first.