NORTH Korean state media has said it was “self-confidence” and not sanctions that drove it to seek talks with South Korea and the US, saying warming relations are thanks to its “proactive measure and peace-loving proposal.”
Pyongyang also dismissed suggestions US President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” tactics were the cause of improved ties in a commentary published by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency.
It said officials in the United States had been taking credit, saying “Trump’s high-intensity sanctions and pressure strategy proves effective,” or that the international sanctions had pushed North Korea to a point at which “it can no longer sustain itself.” Those claims are false, the commentary said.
“Such rubbish as ‘result of sanctions and pressure’ and sort of ‘limit’ spread by the hostile forces is just as meaningless as a dog barking at the moon.”
People saying such things was “an expression of small-mindedness for the riff-raffs to spoil the atmosphere” ahead of bilateral talks, the commentary said.
The commentary comes after Trump accepted an invitation to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. If it goes ahead, it will be the first ever face-to-face meeting between sitting leaders of North Korea and the US. Details of the meet are still unclear, but it is currently slated for May.
“The great change in the north-south relations is not an accidental one but a noble fruition made thanks to the DPRK’s (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) proactive measure, warm compatriotism and will for defending peace,” the commentary said, reserving all credit for the thaw in relations for Pyongyang. “Such an event as today could be possible as the DPRK’s dignity has remarkably risen and it has strong might.”
North Korea has pushed intensely anti-American propaganda at home. This commentary appears to be the first time it has mentioned a shift in North Korean policy towards the US.
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in suggested there could be a three-way summit between the North, South and the US after their respective meetings with Kim.
A South Korean delegation travelled to Pyongyang to meet with Kim after a thawing of relations at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
Delegations from the North and South are set to meet again next week to prepare for a meeting between Kim and Moon.