North Korea: US ‘terrorism’ report stumbling block for talks

US report designating North Korea as a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ proves its ‘hostile policy’, Pyongyang says.

North Korea test
North Korea's Kim had set in April an end-of-the-year deadline for denuclearisation talks [File: Ahn Young-joon/AP]

North Korea hit back at a US State Department report released last week, saying the report’s description of North Korea as a sponsor of “terrorism” is an example of a “hostile policy” by the United States that is preventing denuclearisation talks from progressing, state news agency KCNA said on Tuesday.

The report “proves once again” that US rejection of North Korea indicated “a hostile policy,” said the KCNA statement, citing a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

“The channel of dialogue between the DPRK and the US is more and more narrowing due to such attitude,” the statement added, referring to North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

North Korean and US officials held talks in October for the first time since US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed in June to reopen denuclearisation negotiations, but they broke down, with North Korea’s envoy saying the US failed to show flexibility.

Kim had set in April an end-of-the-year deadline for denuclearisation talks.

North Korea and the US could hold another round of working-level talks as soon as mid-November to expedite progress, South Korean legislator Lee Eun-jae said on Monday after attending a briefing by Seoul’s National Intelligence Service.

The US State Department’s “Country Reports on Terrorism 2018” report released on November 1 reaffirmed North Korea’s redesignation as a state sponsor of “terrorism”, saying “the DPRK government repeatedly provided support for acts of international “terrorism”, as the DPRK was implicated in assassinations on foreign soil.”

Four North Koreans identified as suspects by Malaysian police in the 2017 assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of Kim Jong Un, remain at large.

Source: Reuters