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North Korea rules out ‘any contact’ with US

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)
The photo, taken on June 18, 2021 and released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on June 19, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attending a meeting in Pyongyang. (By AFP)

The North Korean foreign minister has ruled out “any contact” with the United States, saying negotiations with Washington would lead “nowhere.”

Ri Son Gwon made the remarks on Wednesday, a day after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s influential sister said Washington had "wrong" expectations for dialogue, rejecting the US interpretation of her brother’s latest speech as a signal of Pyongyang’s openness to an early resumption of negotiations.

“It seems that the US may interpret the situation in such a way as to seek a comfort for itself,” Kim Yo-jong said in a statement on Tuesday.

She was responding to US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who on Sunday described as an “interesting signal” the North Korean leader’s Friday speech, in which he said his country needed to prepare for “both dialogue and confrontation” with the US under President Joe Biden.

The North Korean foreign minister welcomed Kim's rejection of the "hasty judgment, conjecture and expectation of the US."

"We are not considering even the possibility of any contact with the US, let alone having it, which would get us nowhere, only taking up precious time," he said in a statement carried by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Wednesday.

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

Former US President Donald Trump attempted to court Pyongyang. But even though he met with Kim three times, he refused to relieve any of the sanctions 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.

Pyongyang has blasted the new administration in Washington for pursuing a "hostile policy" after President Biden said he would deal with the “threat” posed by the North's nuclear program "through diplomacy as well as stern deterrence."

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