N. Korea threatens to restart nuke plans
North Korea has threatened to restart the development of its nuclearweapons program unless the United States lifts sanctions, underscoring one of the stumbling blocks in Washington’s diplomatic outreach with leader Kim Jong Un.
The Trump administration has insisted that sanctions and other pressures remain until it dismantles its nuclear program. Kim’s regime, however, has always demanded a step-by-step process of denuclearization that would include lifting U.S. sanctions along the way.
In the past month, Pyongyang has stepped up its calls for sanctions relief. The statement released Friday by North Korea is the latest indication that negotiations have hit an impasse.
The issue of sanctions has also created a rift between Seoul and Washington. South Korea has backed the North’s call for sanctions relief, and is keen to get moving on an ambitious program of economic development and cooperation, including building road and rail links across their heavily militarized frontier.
The Foreign Ministry warned that unless sanctions were lifted and Washington stopped behaving “arrogantly,” North Korea could reinstate “pyongjin” – its policy of simultaneously developing its nuclear program while seeking economic development.