N. Korea: US ruining mood of detente before summit
PYONGYANG, North Korea
With just weeks to go before President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are expected to have their first summit, Pyongyang on Sunday criticized what it called “misleading” claims that Trump’s policy of maximum political pressure and sanctions are what drove the North to the negotiating table.
The North’s official news agency quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman warning the claims are a “dangerous attempt” to ruin a budding detente on the Korean Peninsula after Kim’s summit late last month with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
At the summit, Kim agreed to a number of measures aimed at improving North-South ties and indicated he is willing to discuss the denuclearization of the peninsula, though exactly what that would entail have not yet been explained.
Trump and senior U.S. officials have suggested repeatedly that Washington’s tough policy toward North Korea, along with pressure on its main trading partner China, have played a decisive role in turning around what had been an extremely tense situation. Just last year, as Kim was launching long-range missiles at a record pace and trading vulgar insults with Trump, it would have seemed unthinkable for the topic of denuclearization to be on the table.
The North’s statement Sunday seemed to be aimed at strengthening Kim’s position going into his meeting with Trump.