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North Korea accuses US of ‘hostile provocation’ in missile test criticism

North Korea on Thursday accused the U.S. of “hostile provocation” after it criticized Pyongyang’s ballistic missile tests at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council.

An unnamed North Korea Foreign Ministry spokesman told state media that the “foolish” comments by the U.S. may have cost the Trump administration a chance to save stalled nuclear negotiations and helped North Korea reach a “definite decision” about its next steps.

Pyongyang is approaching an end-of-the-year deadline imposed by leader Kim Jong Un for Washington to offer terms to revive the talks, though it has not laid out what terms it would consider acceptable.

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North Korea maintains that its missile program is being developed for self-defense, but U.S. officials worry that the weapons could be used to potentially deliver nuclear warheads against the U.S. or allies. 

“If bolstering of military capabilities for self-defense should be termed an act of destroying global peace and security, there comes the conclusion that all the steps taken by other countries for bolstering up their defense capabilities should be taken issue with,” the spokesman said.

“The U.S. talks about dialogue, whenever it opens its mouth, but it is too natural that the U.S. has nothing to present before us though dialogue may open.”

The spokesman’s comments come after Ambassador Kelly Craft said Pyongyang’s missile program was “deeply counterproductive” and that its test could jeopardize the prospects of hammering out a peace agreement with the U.S. 

President Trump and Kim have held two official nuclear summits that have thus far yielded little progress. The last one, which took place in Vietnam in February, ended early without an agreement. North Korea has blamed the stalled negotiations on Washington’s “political and military provocations.” 

Trump and Kim met for a third time briefly in June at the border between North and South Korea, though a follow-up meeting in October between aides broke down without any progress.

Kim suspended nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests last year during a diplomacy campaign with Washington and Seoul but has threatened Pyongyang could embark on a “new path” if the U.S. maintains sanctions on North Korea.

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