N. Korea slams US for urging more sanctions the same day Trump invited Kim to DMZ

The thaw in relations between Washington and Pyongyang, revamped by the meeting of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump in the demilitarized zone during which Trump set foot in North Korea, did not last long.

The statement issued by the reclusive nation’s UN mission on Thursday accuses Washington of not backing its reconciliatory rhetoric with action, but, on the contrary, rallying for more sanctions on the same day Trump invited Kim for an impromptu summit at the border.

The mission said that a joint letter circulated by the US representative together with that of France, the UK, and Germany on June 29, urged UN members to send back North Korean contractors working abroad. It was supposed to be punishment for Pyongyang allegedly surpassing the annual UN cap on oil imports, set at 500,000 barrels. 

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In an earlier letter the US penned along with 23 other countries to the UN Security Council sanctions panel on June 18, Washington argued for an immediate halt of deliveries to North Korea. However, due to opposition from China and Russia, the step was not taken.

In a statement on Thursday, the North Korean mission said the original US request to halt deliveries was made under an “absurd pretext,” calling the June 29 letter “no less than… overt pressure” on the UN members.

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The fact that Trump’s much-publicized decision to hold a summit with Kim and step over the border to North Korea coincided with the US’ push for more punitive measures “speaks to the reality that the United States is practically more and more hell-bent on the hostile acts… though talking about the DRPK-US dialogue,” the statement read.

While Pyongyang does not “thirst for lifting of sanctions,” it is “quite ridiculous” that the US considers them to be “a panacea for all problems,” the mission said.

The Sunday meeting between Trump and Kim was hailed by Trump as “tremendous progress.” However, president’s critics in the Democratic Party have denounced the trip as just a “photo op.”

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