North Korea warned Thursday that there could be no progress in its denuclearization as it accused some senior US officials of trying to strengthen global sanctions on Pyongyang.
A foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement on state-run KCNA that North Korea was still willing to institute the broad agreement reached at the June 12 summit meeting in Singapore between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Those followed contentious remarks last week by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho on the sidelines of a regional summit in Singapore.
"We're going to continue to apply maximum pressure to North Korea until they denuclearize, just as we are to Iran".
Pyongyang also returned the remains of some U.S. soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean war in a gesture meant to break down mistrust between the countries, it said. It also claims that "high-level officials within the USA administration are making baseline allegations against [North Korea] and making desperate attempts at intensifying the worldwide sanctions and pressure".
Pyongyang insisted that the US should reciprocate to the North's suspension of missile launches and nuclear tests and other goodwill gestures such as the return of remains of American troops killed in the Korean War.
"I can tell you we continue to have conversations virtually every day, every other day or so with the North Koreans", Heather Nauert, U.S. State Department spokeswoman, said Thursday "When I say 'conversations, ' that can be by phone, that can be my message, that can be by email".
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North Korea has lashed out at the United States for continuing to push for sanctions enforcement.
With such moves, "one can not expect any progress in the implementation of North Korea-US joint statement including the denuclearization, and furthermore, there is no guarantee that the hard-won atmosphere of stability on the Korean Peninsula will continue", said the spokesperson.
On the same day a United Nations report, submitted after six months of work, accused North Korea of breaking previous economic sanctions.
Asked about the possibility of additional meetings, Bolton said Trump in a recent letter to Kim proposed sending Pompeo back to North Korea, and that Trump was ready to meet with Kim any time.
Washington has said that sanctions will not be lifted until Pyongyang fully and finally dismantles its nuclear weapons.