North Korea is ratcheting up its rhetoric against the U.S. by threatening to resume long-range missile and nuclear tests and warning there’s a “limit to our patience.”
The warning comes just days after talks between the two sides in Sweden, designed to kickstart stalled negotiations on denuclearization, failed once again.
“There is a limit to our patience, and there is no law that anything we have refrained from so far will continue indefinitely,” a foreign ministry spokesman said Thursday, according to state-run KCNA news agency, adding it may “reconsider the crucial steps we have taken to build trust with the U.S.”
North Korea halted nuclear and long-range missile tests following the June 2018 summit in Singapore between Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump. However, it has in recent months conducted 11 short-range missile tests, the latest a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) capable of hitting Japan and South Korea.
While Trump has dismissed the recent tests as insignificant, the European members of the U.N. Security Council strongly condemned the latest tests in a statement issued Tuesday.
The foreign ministry spokesman hit out at the Security Council statement, claiming the tests were for self-defense and that Washington was behind the condemnation.
The North Korean spokesman also pointed to a U.S. Air Force test of a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile this month, noting the U.N. Security Council did not condemn that test, even though it was “clearly carried out in order to pressure us.”
North Korea said it could make a response “on the same level” but is refraining from doing so for now.
According to Pyongyang, last weekend’s talks — the first since the failed Hanoi summit in February — broke down because the U.S. had come to the table “empty-handed” despite the demand from Kim that Washington approach negotiations with a “new method of calculation.”
The U.S. tried to paint a more optimistic picture, with the State Department describing the talks as “good discussions” that would allow negotiators to make progress in the coming months.
While Sweden did invite the two sides to return for further talks later this month, North Korea said it would not hold “such sickening negotiations” until Washington takes a “substantial step” to withdraw its “hostile policy.”
Cover: In this Thursday, July 25, 2019, photo provided on Friday, July 26, 2019, by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches a missile test in North Korea. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)