The North Korean Foreign Ministry warned that unless the United States lifts sanctions and Washington stopped behaving “arrogantly,” North Korea could reinstate “pyonjin,” its policy of simultaneously developing its nuclear weapons program alongside economic development.
The Trump administration has insisted that sanctions will remain in place until North Korea ends its nuclear program, but North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s regime has demanded an incremental process of denuclearizing where U.S. sanctions would be lifted along the away.
Pyongyang has amplified its call for sanctions relief over the past month.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to meet with North Korean official Kim Yong Chol next week to discuss details of a potential second summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump.
Trump said that his first summit with Kim in June was a “bold step” toward peace.
However, the Foreign Ministry commentary said “the improvement of relations and sanctions are incompatible,” adding that “friendship is incompatible with pressure.”
The sanctions issue has also caused a rift between Seoul and Washington with South Korea backing North Korea’s call for sanction relief to move forward with economic development and cooperation.
The Foreign Ministry’s Institute for American Studies said in a statement late Friday that the sanctions hinder South Korea from pursuing cooperation projects with North Korea.
Satellite imagery seen by 38 North published hours after the institute’s statement suggested North Korea is continuing its uranium mining and milling operation at one of the country’s largest declared uranium ore concentrate facilities.