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North Korea quashes idea of talks with US

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives a speech in March 2013.

KCNA VIA KNS/AP

By ERIK SLAVIN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 4, 2015

YOKOHAMA, Japan — North Korea appeared to rule out renewed nuclear talks with the United States in a statement Wednesday that criticized Washington for engaging in regularly scheduled military drills with South Korea.

North Korea and the U.S. had been talking secretly about having a nuclear dialogue, according to a Washington Post report Monday, but the hyperbolic response released through Pyongyang’s official news service negated any possibility of talks.

“It is the decision of the army and people of the DPRK to have no longer need or willingness to sit at negotiating table with the U.S. since the latter seeks to stamp out the ideology of the former and ‘bring down’ its social system,” the statement said.

The statement slammed the U.S. for its plans to conduct the annual spring Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises with South Korea.<br />
“Now that the brigandish U.S. imperialists’ hostile policy toward the DPRK is getting extremely ferocious, the army and people of the DPRK will take stronger counteraction of justice to shatter it,” the news release stated.

Last month, Pyongyang demanded the exercises stop as a precondition for talks with Seoul.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye had announced in January that she would like to hold talks without preconditions with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The statement also accused Washington of making up the accusation that North Korea was responsible for the cyberattack on Sony.

The entertainment company produced “The Interview,” a comedy about two men recruited by the U.S. government to kill North Korea’s leader.

Shortly after denying any involvement in the cyberattack, the statement threatened that if the U.S. ever attacked North Korea, Pyongyang would counter “with its own preeminent cyber warfare and will thus bring earlier the final ruin of the U.S.”

The United States has periodically attempted to revive six-nation talks with North Korea, which broke down in 2007, in a bid to convince the regime to end its nuclear program.

North Korea carried out its first nuclear test in 2006. International talks led North Korea to destroy a cooling tower at its Yongbyon nuclear plant two years later in exchange for concessions on sanctions. They have since tested increasingly powerful nuclear weapons in 2009 and 2013, and have threatened to use them against South Korea and the U.S.

The United States and its allies have also condemned North Korea due to its purported system of concentration camps for political prisoners, lack of basic freedoms for its citizens and other human rights abuses.

slavin.erik@stripes.com
Twitter: @eslavin_stripes

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