SEOUL – North Korea rejected on Tuesday in an editorial a recent offer by the United States for talks without preconditions, calling it a ploy to make it give up its nuclear program.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had said last week that Washington would be willing to talk to Pyongyang without the precondition of North Korea’s denuclearization.
“The U.S. is trying to shift responsibility for tensions on the Korean Peninsula to us with its dialogue offensive,” said the editorial published by North Korean party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun.
However, the White House also pointed out in a statement that dialogue was not possible unless North Korea changed its position on its weapons program.
In Tuesday’s editorial, Pyongyang said Washington’s offer “is seen as being intended to set the tone for manipulating new UN Security Council resolutions that may include a maritime blockade if we do not accept dialogue aimed at discussing the abandonment of our nuclear weapons.”
Tillerson himself hinted at the possibility of intercepting the shipping of products with origin or destination to North Korea as punishment for the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) that was fired on Nov. 29.
“There is no change in our stance that we will not budge an inch in our march toward strengthening our nuclear force,” concluded the Rodong editorial.
North Korea claimed after launching its latest missile – its most advanced ICBM so far – that it has completed its state nuclear force.
North Korea’s repeated nuclear weapons test and its advances in this field, coupled with aggressive rhetoric and increased deployment of strategic assets in the region by the US, have raised tension on the Korean Peninsula to an unprecedented level since the end of the Korean War in the 1950s.