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North Korea to continue ignoring US contact unless it withdraws 'hostile policies' towards Pyongyang

News Agencies | Updated on: 18 March 2021, 8:27 IST

North Korea on Thursday said it will continue to ignore any contact from the United States unless Washington withdraws its hostile policies towards Pyongyang.

According to Yonhap News Agency, North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui confirmed in a statement that the US reached out to Pyongyang even the day before its combined exercises with South Korea from a 'third country'.

"We have already made our point clear that no North Korea-US contact or talks will be held unless the US withdraws hostile policies to us and that we will continue to ignore its attempts to reach out to us," Choe said in the statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.

"In order to hold any talks, we must set a mood where the two sides can sit down face-to-face under equitable conditions," she added.

The statement comes as US State Secretary Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are in Seoul for 2+2 talks with their South Korean counterparts to coordinate a joint approach towards North Korea.

Choe slammed recent attempts by the US to reach out to the North as excuses for Washington to "buy time," and warned that it will not grant any more opportunities for talks, such as the Singapore summit in June 2018 and the Hanoi summit the following year.

She then criticized President Joe Biden's administration for bringing up the possibility of additional sanctions and "pressure measures" against Pyongyang, reported Yonhap News Agency.

Meanwhile, in his one-on-one talks with South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong on Wednesday, Blinken accused North Korea of "systemic and widespread abuses" against its own people and vowed to work closely with allies for the denuclearisation of the North.

South Korea and the US on Thursday are set to wrap up their nine-day springtime combined military exercise staged in a scaled-back manner due to the coronavirus pandemic, despite calls by North Korea to end the joint military drills.


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First published: 18 March 2021, 8:27 IST