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N Korea warns of returning to nuclear policy

AFP  |  Seoul 

has warned the it will "seriously" consider returning to a state policy aimed at building nuclear weapons if does not end tough against the impoverished regime.

For years, the North had pursued a "byungjin" policy of simultaneously developing its nuclear capabilities alongside the economy.

In April, citing a "fresh climate of detente and peace" on the peninsula, North Korean leader Un declared the nuclear quest complete and said his country would focus on "socialist economic construction".

But a statement issued by the North's foreign ministry said could revert to its former policy if the US did not change its stance over sanctions.

"The word 'byungjin' may appear again and the change of the line could be seriously reconsidered," said the statement carried by the official agency late Friday.

At a historic summit in in June, US and Kim signed a vaguely-worded statement on denuclearisation.

But little progress has been made since then, with pushing to maintain sanctions against the North until its "final, fully verified denuclearisation" and condemning US demands as "gangster-like".

"The improvement of relations and sanctions are incompatible," said the statement, released under the name of the director of the foreign ministry's

"What remains to be done is the US corresponding reply," it added.

The statement is the latest sign of Pyongyang's increasing frustration with

Last month, the North's carried a near 1,700 words long commentary accusing the US of playing a "double game", implicitly criticising Trump for his comments aimed at barring from lifting sanctions against

Despite a flurry of diplomacy on and around the peninsula differences are emerging between and Washington, which stations 28,500 troops in the South to protect it from its nuclear-armed neighbour.

The South's Moon Jae-in has long favoured engagement with the North, which is subject to multiple sanctions over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

He has dangled large investment and joint cross-border projects as incentives for steps towards denuclearisation, while the US has been adamant pressure should be maintained on Pyongyang until it fully dismantles its weapons programmes.

In an interview with on Friday, US reiterated that sanctions will remain until Pyongyang carries out it denuclearisation commitments made in Singapore, adding he will meet with his North Korean counterpart next week.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, November 04 2018. 11:30 IST
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