SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea said Thursday South Korea must stop trying to mediate between Pyongyang and Washington.
The North’s Foreign Ministry also repeated its demand that the United States must work out mutually acceptable proposals to salvage a deadlocked nuclear negotiations by the end of December.
The statement was an apparent expression of displeasure with Seoul and Washington over stalled nuclear diplomacy. There have been no public official meetings between the United States and North Korea since the breakdown of the second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi in February.
The Hanoi summit fell apart after Trump rejected Kim’s calls for sweeping sanctions relief in return for a limited disarmament step. The summit’s collapse was a blow to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a liberal who shuttled between Washington and Pyongyang to facilitate talks between the countries.
Talks of revival of diplomacy, however, has flared after Trump and Kim recently exchanged personal letters. Moon said earlier this week that U.S. and North Korean officials were holding “behind-the-scene talks” to try to set up a third summit between Trump and Kim. Moon also said talks between the two Koreas have been under way through unspecified “various channels.”
On Thursday, Kwon Jong Gun, chief of the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s U.S. affairs department, said it will “never go through” South Korea when it deals with the United States. Kwon said relations between the United States and North Korea are not an issue that South Korea should meddle in.
He also dismissed as false the comments by Moon and other South Korean officials that there are various exchanges and unofficial talks between the two Koreas.
The statement came two days before Trump visits South Korea for a two-day trip.Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.