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North Korea rules out new talks with US, citing ‘hostile policy’

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This picture, taken on March 6, 2021 and released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on March 7, 2021, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) taking part in a photo call with participants of the First Short Course for Chief Secretaries of City and County Party Committees in Pyongyang. (Via AFP)

North Korea has dismissed the possibility of holding fresh talks with the United States on the demilitarization of the Korean Peninsula, saying it will ignore all efforts by Washington to foster contact or dialog as long as it pursues a "hostile policy" toward Pyongyang.

South Korea's official Yonhap news agency cited North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui as saying in a statement carried by state media on Thursday that there will be no contact or dialog between Washington and Pyongyang "until the US withdraws its hostile DPRK policy," using an abbreviation for the North's official name — the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"Therefore, we will continue to ignore such attempts by the US in the future," she added.

"After the change of government in the United States, the only sounds that have echoed are the crazy rumors of the 'threat of DPRK' and the blind screaming of 'complete denuclearization,'" Choe added.

The remarks came hours before US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin were to discuss North Korea with officials in the South Korean capital, Seoul.

The visit by the US officials is the second leg of an overseas tour by top cabinet members of US President Joe Biden's administration.

Blinken and Austin have repeatedly called for the "complete denuclearization of North Korea" on their trip, which began in Japan.

Choe said Blinken's comments in Tokyo had "seriously provoked us," adding, "Now I wonder what kind of unscrupulous sophistry he will lay out in South Korea to surprise the world."

She further said that since mid-February, Pyongyang had received emails and phone calls from Washington at the North's UN mission in New York and other avenues, calling the outreach a "cheap trick" to stall and drum up public support.

Choe said North Korea saw no reason to return to nuclear talks with the United States despite multiple efforts in recent weeks by Washington to engage, stressing that in order for talks to take place, Pyongyang and Washington would have to meet as equals.

"It will only be a waste of time to sit with the US as it is not ready to feel and accept new change and new times," she said. "We make it clear that we won't give it such opportunities as in Singapore and Hanoi again," referring to meetings between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and former US President Donald Trump in Singapore and Vietnam.

Earlier this week, the US State Department said Washington had attempted to reach out to Pyongyang "through several channels" but had received no response.

North Korea has long been under harsh United Nations (UN) sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs. The US has spearheaded those sanctions and has imposed several rounds of its own.

Former US President Trump attempted to court Pyongyang, and although he met with Kim three times, he refused to relieve any of the sanctions on the North in return for several steps taken by Pyongyang toward denuclearization. That hampered further diplomacy between Pyongyang and Washington and prompted Kim to announce an end to a moratorium on the country's missile tests.

Meanwhile, Blinken and Austin are scheduled to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who brokered the diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang in 2018.

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