North Korea's No. 2 leader urged the United States to drop its hostile policy toward Pyongyang before seeking denuclearization talks, saying the current situations surrounding the Korean Peninsula are at a "critical crossroads," Pyongyang's state media said Tuesday.
In a speech at the Non-Aligned Movement summit held in Azerbaijan, Choe Ryong-hae, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, also criticized South Korea for relying on outsiders in cross-border issues and urged it to take the lead in improving inter-Korean relations, according to the Korean Central News Agency.
Choe Ryong-hae (Yonhap)
"Now the situation on the Korean peninsula is at a critical crossroads of either moving towards durable peace along with the trend of detente or facing again a touch-and-go crisis," Choe was quoted as saying.
"A year has passed since the adoption of June 12 DPRK-US Joint Statement. But the DPRK-US relations see no improvement and the situation on the Korean peninsula is still caught up in the vicious cycle of escalated tension. This is ascribable to the US pursuit of its anachronistic policy hostile to the DPRK and its continued political and military provocations," he added.
He referred to the agreement North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump reached in Singapore, which produced an agreement committing the North to "work toward" the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for US security guarantees.
Their second summit in Hanoi in February broke down as they could not meet halfway over how to match Pyongyang's denuclearization steps with Washington's sanctions relief and other concessions.
North Korea and the US resumed nuclear talks earlier this month following a stalemate since the breakdown of the February summit but failed to narrow their differences.
Pyongyang has recently beefed up its calls for Washington to come up with a proposal acceptable to it before the end of this year, a deadline that leader Kim set during his policy speech in April.
Choe also blamed South Korea for lack of progress in inter-Korean relations, demanding Seoul drop its reliance on outsiders in determining cross-border issues.
"The reason why the North-South relations do not move forward ... despite the historic declarations adopted by the two Koreas last year is entirely because of the South Korean authorities' dependence on outsiders and toadyism," Choe said.
"The North-South relations can be improved only when the South Korean authorities drop its policy of dependence on outsiders which undermine common profits of Korean people and fully exercise its responsibility in front of the Korean people." (Yonhap)