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Kim: North Korea must deal blow to countries imposing sanctions

This picture, released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 11, 2019, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attending a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), in the capital, Pyongyang. (Via AFP)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un says his country must deal a “serious blow” to those countries that seek to break Pyongyang with sanctions by reaching self-reliance.

Kim said achieving self-reliance would frustrate the sanctions, the North’s official KCNA news agency on Thursday quoted him as saying before top officials of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.

“We must deal a serious blow to the hostile forces who are mistakenly determined to bring us to our knees with sanctions by advancing the socialist construction to a high level of self-reliance that fits our circumstances and state, based on our own power, technology and resources,” the North Korean leader said.

He stressed self-reliance and a “self-supporting national economy” as the “bedrock” of North Korean socialism and “the eternal lifeline essential to the destiny of our revolution.”

North Korea is under a series of harsh sanctions, mainly imposed by the United States but also by the United Nations Security Council.

Diplomacy initiated by the North’s long-time rival South Korea in 2018 initially raised hopes for peace on the Korean Peninsula, where the US has heavy military presence and where tensions with Pyongyang ran particularly high in 2017.

Seoul both diplomatically engaged Pyongyang and brokered diplomacy between the US and North Korea. US President Donald Trump and Kim met once in June 2018, and another time in late February, when they reached an impasse at the Vietnamese capital, Hanoi. The two sides differed over the timing and manner of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and the lifting of the sanctions — which have been sticking points since they started negotiating.

The US has refused to offer any sanctions relief in return for several unilateral steps already taken by North Korea. Pyongyang, on the other hand, has suspended its missile and nuclear testing, demolished at least one nuclear test site, and agreed to allow international inspectors into a missile engine test facility.

Meanwhile, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, whose efforts kicked off diplomacy with the North and who has acted as a go-between, is in Washington on his third official visit and is about the meet with his American counterpart later on Thursday with the objective of helping resuscitate talks.

Additionally, the North’s Supreme People’s Assembly, the country’s parliament, will convene on Thursday, and a more detailed announcement — possibly a policy shift — could be announced.

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