North Korea said Monday that while it views the U.S. decision to postpone joint military drills with South Korea as "positive," the adoption of a U.N. resolution criticizing the North's human rights record has soured its desire to have denuclearization talks with Washington.
"The U.S. dreams of bringing down our system when the DPRK-U.S. dialogue is on a high agenda, which shows that the U.S. has no intention to sincerely work with us towards the settlement of issues," a statement from North Korea's Foreign Ministry spokesman said. "Therefore, we have no willingness to meet such a dialogue partner."
The DPRK is the acronym for North Korea's official name in English — the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The United States was one of dozens of countries to co-sponsor the resolution on North Korea's human rights situation in the U.N. General Assembly committee that deals with human rights. It was adopted by consensus last Thursday and included urging the U.N. Security Council to consider further sanctions targeting those in North Korea responsible for rights abuses, and urging the council to refer Pyongyang to the International Criminal Court.
North Korea on Monday said the U.S. had made "another political provocation" by supporting the resolution.
The resolution has become an annual exercise, and in a departure from past years, South Korea did not join as a co-sponsor. In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said it had taken into consideration the "overall circumstances, such as the current situation on the Korean Peninsula," in making its decision, but its efforts to improve human rights conditions there remain unchanged.
The committee resolution is expected to be passed in the full General Assembly next month.
Military drills postponed
On Sunday, the U.S. and South Korea said they are postponing joint military drills.
U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the move is an "act of goodwill" toward North Korea.
Since U.S. President Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at their historic Singapore summit in June 2018, the U.S. has either suspended or scaled down the joint military exercises in order to enhance the atmosphere for denuclearization talks to continue.
The U.S. and South Korea have been conducting annual military exercises since 1955, months after the end of the Korean War, in order to maintain their combat abilities to defend against North Korea. About 28,500 American troops are currently stationed in South Korea.