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Thursday February 20th, 2020 12:07PM

North Korea: Trump tries to undermine peace with sanctions

By The Associated Press
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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Three days after the U.S. and North Korean leaders held a historic third meeting, North Korea's U.N. Mission accused the Trump administration Wednesday of talking about dialogue but being "more and more hell bent" on hostile acts.

A press statement from the mission pointed a finger at U.S. efforts to exert "overt pressure" and have the world's nations implement U.N. sanctions.

First, it said, the U.S. and 23 other countries sent a letter to the U.N. Security Council committee monitoring sanctions on North Korea demanding urgent action "under the absurd pretext of 'excess in the amount of refined petroleum imported.'"

The United States and the other countries accused the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea, or DPRK, of violating U.N. sanctions by importing far more than the annual limit of 500,000 barrels of refined petroleum products, which are key for its economy. But last month Russia and China blocked the sanctions committee from declaring that Pyongyang breached the annual import limit.

North Korea's U.N. Mission said the United States, Britain, France and Germany then circulated a joint letter to all U.N. member states on June 29 "calling for repatriation of the DPRK workers abroad, thus inciting an atmosphere of sanctions and pressure against the DPRK."

It added that not only does this speak "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," but the letter was sent by the U.S. Mission "under the instruction of the State Department, on the very same day when President (Donald) Trump proposed for the summit meeting."

That day, Trump issued an unprecedented invitation to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas. Kim accepted and at their Sunday meeting, Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to set foot in North Korea when he crossed the demarcation line.

Trump and Kim agreed at the meeting to restart negotiations designed to denuclearize the Korean peninsula. North Korea's state media described their meeting as "an amazing event."

But there was nothing positive in Wednesday's statement from North Korea's U.N. Mission, which made no mention of nuclear talks, focusing instead on sanctions.

The U.N. Security Council 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 send abroad to earn hard currency.

Despite the summits between Trump and Kim in Singapore and Hanoi, the United States has kept up pressure on countries to implement the sanctions — and on North Korea to abide by them.

"It is quite ridiculous for the United States to continue to behave obsessed with sanctions and pressure campaign against the DPRK, considering sanctions as a panacea for all problems," North Korea's mission said. "As we stated on several occasions, we do not thirst for lifting of sanctions."

The North Korean Mission also had a message for the other 192 U.N. member nations.

"All U.N. member states will have to keep vigilance against deliberate attempts by the United States to undermine the peaceful atmosphere that has been created on the Korean peninsula in no easy way," the mission said.

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