By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – North Korea’s deputy U.N. envoy said on Friday that the United States needed to roll back its “hostile policy” toward the country before there could be talks between the pair.
“As everybody knows, the Americans have gestured (toward) dialogue,” North Korea’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Kim In Ryong told reporters on Friday. “But what is important is not words, but actions.”
“The rolling back of the hostile policy toward DPRK is the prerequisite for solving all the problems in the Korean Peninsula,” he said. “Therefore, the urgent issue to be settled on Korean Peninsula is to put a definite end to the U.S. hostile policy toward DPRK, the root cause of all problems.”
North Korea, also known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), has vowed to develop a missile mounted with a nuclear warhead that can strike the mainland United States, saying the program is necessary to counter U.S. aggression.
U.S. President Donald Trump warned in an interview with Reuters in late April that a “major, major conflict” with the North was possible, but he said he would prefer a diplomatic outcome to the dispute over its nuclear and missile programs.
Trump later said he would be “honored” to meet the North’s leader, Kim Jong Un, under the right conditions. A U.S. State Department spokesman said the United States remains open to talks with North Korea but the country would have to “cease all its illegal activities and aggressive behavior in the region.”
New South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who took office last week, campaigned on a more moderate approach toward the North but he has said it must change its attitude of insisting on arms development before dialogue can be possible.
The U.N. Security Council first imposed sanctions on North Korea in 2006 and has strengthened the measures in response to the country’s five nuclear tests and two long-range rocket launches. Pyongyang is threatening a sixth nuclear test.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)