North Korea will not give up its nuclear weapons until the U.S. eliminates its “nuclear threat,” according to the North Korean state media outlet Korea Central News Agency.
“The proper definition of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is completely eliminating the American nuclear threat to North Korea before eliminating our nuclear capability,” the outlet wrote Thursday.
The commentary added that nuclear threats should not only be removed from North and South Korea but from “all neighboring areas” as well.
“When talking about the Korean peninsula, it encompasses not only our republic’s territory but also South Korea where the American nuclear weapons and armed forces for invasion are spread out. When talking about denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, [the U.S.] needs to know that it means eliminating all nuclear threat factors,” the statement reads.
President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un met in the summer and signed an agreement promising to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
Since the June 12 summit in Singapore, however, progress has been slow on concrete steps toward dismantling nuclear weapons in the North.
However, the country has not launched a missile test since November of last year, before which they were more frequent, as were Kim Jong-un’s threats to bomb the U.S.
North Korea also asked Washington to lift the heavy sanctions on the regime and stop America’s “hostile policies” in Thursday’s statement.
“It is obvious that denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is a joint business that cannot be achieved unless both Korea and the United States strive tougher,” the commentary insists.
The U.S. has halted certain military exercises in South Korea but has not removed the 28,500 U.S. troops from the area, something that has irked the North in the decades since the Korean War.
“They have not lived up to the commitments so far,” U.S. national-security adviser John Bolton said of the North.