The Slatest

North Korea Accuses Trump of “Deliberately Provoking” Pyongyang Ahead of Talks

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un leaves the Peace House after the Inter-Korean Summit and dinner on April 27, 2018 in Panmunjom, South Korea.
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un leaves the Peace House after the Inter-Korean Summit and dinner on April 27, 2018 in Panmunjom, South Korea. Pool/Getty Images

North Korea seems none too happy about President Donald Trump’s bluster ahead of the highly anticipated talks between the two leaders. Pyongyang warned on Sunday that Trump’s “misleading” statements amounted to a “dangerous attempt” to ruin the peaceful atmosphere that has been built on the Korean Peninsula. In addition, North Korea wants to make clear that U.S. sanctions are not the reason why it agreed to sit at the negotiating table.

“The U.S. is deliberately provoking the DPRK at the time when the situation on the Korean Peninsula is moving toward peace and reconciliation,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman told the North’s official news agency KCNA, which refers to North Korea’s formal name of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “This act cannot be construed otherwise than a dangerous attempt to ruin the hardly-won atmosphere of dialogue and bring the situation back to square one.”

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The spokesman went on to warn the United States that it shouldn’t misinterpret “the peace-loving intention” of North Korea “as a sign of ‘weakness’” while it “continues to pursue its pressure and military threats.” Continued talk of human rights violations and the moves by the military also haven’t helped the process, the spokesman said.

Ahead of the summit that is likely to take place in June, Trump and several White House officials have been quick to pat themselves on the back, saying their tough policy toward North Korea worked. Yet the statement issued Sunday was a stark reminder that Pyongyang and leader Kim Jong Un are seeking to enter talks from a position of strength and not weakness. “We now have a date and we have a location. We’ll be announcing it soon,” Trump told reporters on Friday.

A separate KCNA article is full of praise for Kim, crediting “his strong grit, bold decision and ardent love for the nation and outstanding and tested guidance” for the recent progress in talks with South Korea. The summit at the border was the result of “the firm will, outstanding political ability, warm love for the nation and bold decision of Kim Jong Un to build a dignified, prosperous and reunified power.”

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