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North Korea accused the Trump administration Wednesday of talking out of both sides of its mouth — saying the U.S. is publicly pushing the narrative of open dialogue between the two nations but is “more and more hell-bent” on hostile acts.
North Korea’s UN mission pointed to U.S. efforts to exert “overt pressure” and have the world’s nations implement UN sanctions against Pyongyang, according to a press statement.
In the statement, North Korea said the U.S. and 23 other countries sent a letter to the UN Security Council committee in charge of monitoring sanctions on North Korea and demanded urgent action “under the absurd pretext of ‘excess in the amount of refined petroleum imported.'”
The United States and the other countries have accused North Korea of violating UN sanctions by importing more than the annual limit of 500,000 barrels of refined petroleum products, which are key for the Asian country’s economy. Last month, though, Russia and China blocked the sanctions committee from declaring that Pyongyang breached its annual import limit.
Instead, North Korea’s UN mission said that America, Britain, Germany and France circulated a joint letter to all U.N. member states on June 29 “calling for the repatriation of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea) workers abroad, thus inciting an atmosphere of sanctions and pressure against the DPRK.”
North Korea claimed the act spoke “to the reality that the United States is practically more and more hell-bent on the hostile acts against the DPRK, though talking about the DPRK-U.S. dialogue,” and claimed the letter was sent by the U.S. mission “under the instruction of the State Department, on the very same day when President Trump proposed for the summit meeting.”
The mission claimed the letter was sent by the U.S. on the same day President Trump tweeted he would like to shake hands with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un at the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea. Kim accepted the invitation and on Sunday, Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to set foot in North Korea. The historic meeting culminated in the pair agreeing to resume talks aimed at getting North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.
North Korea’s state media described the meeting between Trump and their leader as “an amazing event.” But there was nothing positive in Wednesday’s statement from North Korea’s UN mission, which made no mention of nuclear talks but instead focused on sanctions.
The UN Security Council has imposed increasingly tough sanctions on North Korea in response to its nuclear bomb and ballistic missile tests. The sanctions are designed to cut off all North Korean exports, 90 percent of its trade, and disband its pool of workers sent abroad to earn hard currency.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.