November 20, 2019 / 3:10 PM / 20 days ago

North Korea says no interest in Trump summit until 'hostile policy' removed

SEOUL (Reuters) - A senior North Korean official said on Wednesday that the United States must drop its “hostile policy” towards Pyongyang in order to restart stalled denuclearisation talks, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.

FILE PHOTO - A North Korean flag flies on a mast at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva October 2, 2014. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Picture

Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui told reporters after meeting Russian officials in Moscow it would be “impossible” to hold another summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump if he maintains his current stance towards the North.

“To negotiate with the United States going forward, we would be able to discuss nuclear issues again when it withdraws all of its hostile policy against us,” Choe said, according to Yonhap.

“In that sense, I think a summit should not really be an issue of our interest.”

She did not specify what constituted such a policy, but North Korea’s foreign ministry said on Sunday that a recent United Nations resolution on its human rights was a U.S.-led “political provocation”.

North Korea has also called for an end to joint military drills with South Korea, as well as sanctions that crippled its economy.

When asked what U.S. action was needed to restart the talks, Choe said the Americans “know very well”.

“The U.S. side will have to lift all measures with which they treat us as an enemy and then inform us of such a strategic decision,” she said.

Kim and Trump held a first, landmark summit in Singapore in June last year and agreed to improve relations and negotiate an end to North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes.

The efforts have made no substantial progress and their second summit collapsed in Vietnam in February.

The two leaders agreed in June, at a third meeting at the inter-Korean border, to re-open negotiations. But working-level talks in October between officials in Sweden ended with the North Korean envoy accusing the Americans of coming to the table empty-handed.

Choe, one of North Korea’s key nuclear negotiators, met Russian officials including Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Wednesday, Yonhap said.

Her remarks were the latest in a series of statements in recent weeks by senior Pyongyang officials calling for U.S. action, as a year-end deadline set by Kim for Washington to show more flexibility draws near.

Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Editing by Alex Richardson

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