North Korea believes there are no legitimate reasons to maintain sanctions against the country since it has not conducted nuclear and missile testing for well over a year, a North Korean diplomat said Tuesday.
"The U.S. publicly recognized the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) had discontinued nuclear tests and rocket launches for the past 15 months" However, it does nothing to remove U.S. sanctions as corresponding measures, diplomat Ju Yong Chol said at the U.N.-sponsored Conference of Disarmament in Geneva.
Ju said disputes between the two countries should be resolved on a case-by-case basis in an effort to build trust but "Instead, they came up with the preposterous argument that sanctions relief is impossible prior to denuclearization."
Ju's remarks came in response to a senior U.S. arms control official who said the only way Pyongyang can achieve stability is to abandon its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs. "Our stance is unwavering with regards to North Korea," Yleem Poblete, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, said in Geneva.
Poblete also called on countries to stop any weapons or military collaborations with North Korea, saying, "You are violating U.N. Security Council resolutions that explicitly prohibit such transfers," she said without identifying countries.
North Korea is mulling a suspension of negotiations with the U.S. and may reconsider a freeze on missile and nuclear tests unless the U.S. makes concessions, a senior Pyongyang diplomat said last week, according to news accounts from Pyongyang.
South Korea is seeking to end the impasse after last month's summit in Vietnam between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ended several hours early.
"We agree with the view that no deal is better than a bad deal ... However, in reality, it is difficult to achieve complete denuclearization at one stroke," Seoul's presidential Blue House said in a statement Monday. "I think we need to reconsider the so-called all or nothing strategy."
Trump said after the summit that North Korea had wanted "sanctions lifted in their entirety, but we couldn't do that ... we had to walk away from it."
But Pyongyang disputed Trump's claim, with Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho maintaining North Korea made "realistic" suggestions in exchange for a partial lifting of sanctions."