North Korea says it has been “deceived” by the United States and that the the past 18 months were nothing but “lost time” as Washington has attempted to work toward denuclearization.
In a statement published by state news agency KCNA on Saturday, Kim Kye Gwan, a top adviser to Kim Jong Un, said the North Korean leader had received “birthday greetings from the U.S. president” this week but that their personal relationship is not enough to restart talks.
“We have been deceived by the U.S., being caught in the dialogue with it for over one year and a half, and that was the lost time for us,” the Pyongyang foreign ministry official said. “Although Chairman Kim Jong Un has a good personal feelings about President Trump, they are, in the true sense of the word, ‘personal.'”
Nuclear negotiations between the two sides broke down last year after little substantial progress, and Saturday’s statement indicates North Korea may be difficult to bring back to the table.
“There will never be such negotiations as that in Vietnam, in which we proposed exchanging a core nuclear facility of the country for the lift of some UN sanctions in a bid to lessen the sufferings of the peaceable people even a bit,” it said.
Tensions rose between the U.S. and North Korea late last month after Pyongyang warned that the U.S. would receive a “Christmas gift” and later that it would soon witness “a new strategic weapon.”
Trump had made improving relations with Kim a centerpiece of his Asian foreign policy, but following a pair of summits — and the president’s historic visit to the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea — diplomatic efforts have chilled substantially.
“What is clear is that we will never lose our time again, being taken in by the U.S. trick as in the past,” North Korea said Saturday.