September 19, 2019
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North Korea 'ready for dialog or standoff' with the US

Seoul, Aug 23 (efe-epa).- North Korea's foreign minister said Friday that his country is ready for both dialog or standoff with the United States, who he warned against maintaining sanctions.

"The US is sadly mistaken if it still thinks of standing in confrontation with the DPRK (North Korea's official name) with sanctions," Ri Yong-ho said in a statement published by state news agency KCNA, in which he criticized US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

If the US continues to take that stand, "we will remain as the biggest 'threat' to the US for long and will make it understand for sure what it has to do for denuclearization," the minister warned.

After expressing his discontent over a series of interviews by Pompeo to US media, Ri accused the US' top diplomat of casting a "dark shadow over the prospect of the DPRK-US negotiations" and being "more interested in realizing his future 'political ambition' rather than the current foreign policy of the US."

Ri's remarks coincide with the departure of US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun from Seoul after a four-day visit to discuss the resumption of talks with the North Korean regime.

Talks between North Korea and the US have been stalled since the failed summit between leaders Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump in Hanoi in February.

They were expected to be resumed after the two agreed to revive negotiations in an impromptu third meeting at the inter-Korean border in June.

However, the hard line adopted by Pyongyang and rising tension on the Korean Peninsula after the North test-fired six rounds of projectiles since Jul. 25 as a protest against the US-South Korea joint military drills, has left the fate of the dialog up in the air. EFE-EPA

co-mra/pd/tw

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