N. Korea threatens to reconsider US summit, calls Pence ‘dummy’

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Pyongyang, May 24 (IANS) North Korea on Thursday threatened to reconsider Kim Jong Un’s participation in a summit with US President Donald Trump in June, saying it is up to Washington to decide whether it wants to “meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown”.

In a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui also called US Vice President Mike Pence a “political dummy” for remarks he made to Fox News earlier this week.

He had warned that North Korea “may end like Libya” — where then-leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed by rebels in 2011 after renouncing nuclear weapons eight years earlier.

Choe said Pence had made “unbridled and impudent remarks” and that comparisons with Libya betrayed his lack of knowledge.

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“As a person involved in the US affairs, I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of the US Vice President,” said Choe, who was previously the regime’s top official in charge of relations with the US. The daughter of a former Premier, she is also thought to have direct access to Kim.

“We could surmise more than enough what a political dummy he is as he is trying to compare North Korea, a nuclear weapon state, to Libya that had simply installed a few items of equipment and fiddled around with them,” she said.

Choe said that whether the June 12 summit between Kim and Trump will happen as scheduled entirely rests on the decision and behaviour of Washington, Yonhap news agency reported.

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“We will neither beg the US for dialogue nor take the trouble to persuade them if they do not want to sit together with us,” she said, returning to the military threats that were the hallmark of bilateral relations in 2017.

“Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon its decision and behaviour… In case the US offends against our goodwill and clings to unlawful and outrageous acts, I will put forward a suggestion to our supreme leadership for reconsidering the summit,” she added.

The threat came after South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Trump held a summit in Washington on Tuesday where the latter suggested the summit with the North might not take place on June 12.

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North Korea has ramped up criticism of the US for forcing “unilateral” denuclearisation.

The Trump administration maintains that it seeks the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear programme, with no promise of concessions until that process is in motion.

The North reportedly wants a phased and synchronous approach.

–IANS

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