North Korea’s external propaganda media on Friday lambasted the South Korea and US decision to launch a working group to coordinate strategies for Pyongyang’s denuclearization and resume joint marine drills.
“The US and South Korea have decided to officially launch a working group in November and plan to discuss relevant details on management and structure of the group,” said Uriminzokkiri, a website run by Pyongyang in Korean.
It also called the formation of the working group an arrogant act by the US aimed at monitoring and controlling inter-Korean ties, and stressed there are no grounds for the US to intervene in the affairs between the two Koreas.
It also criticized South Korea, calling its decision to cooperate with the US a “shameful move” and called on Seoul to independently implement the agreements reached between their leaders.
Seoul and Washington agreed last week to launch a joint working group to closely discuss matters on inter-Korean projects and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The decision came amid what seemed to be US concerns that progress in inter-Korean cooperation projects were not in step with the US-North Korea talks on denuclearization.
Meari, another North Korean propaganda website, criticized the allies’ decision Monday to resume the Korea Marine Exercise Program, calling it an “anachronistic military movement” that threatens the current mood of pursuing peace and prosperity on the peninsula.
The KMEP involves some 500 troops, including US Marines from Okinawa, Japan, and military equipment, such as amphibious assault vehicles.
North Korea has been ramping up criticism of the US in recent weeks, in what experts believe to be an effort to get economic sanctions against it lifted. On Nov. 1, the Korean Central News Agency quoted North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un as criticizing international sanctions against his regime, pledging to prove to “hostile forces” his country is capable of developing into a powerful nation.
Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s planned meeting with his North Korean counterpart Kim Yong-chol was postponed to “a later date,” without the US State Department offering a clear explanation.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told reporters in New York on Friday that the North postponed the meeting this week “because they weren’t ready.”
Washington and Pyongyang have been struggling to narrow their differences on details of the concessions they were willing to offer at the negotiation table. North Korea demands the US agree declare an end to the Korean War and ease sanctions against it, while the US wants the North to take more concrete denuclearization steps, such as presenting it with an inventory of the North’s nuclear program.
By Jung Min-kyung (firstname.lastname@example.org)