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North Korea Urges US to Drop Sanctions After Showing Good Faith

© AFP 2023 / Saul LoebUS President Donald Trump (R) gestures as he meets with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) at the start of their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018.
US President Donald Trump (R) gestures as he meets with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) at the start of their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018. - Sputnik International
On Monday, North Korean state media urged the US to drop its sanctions against the country, accusing Washington of using sanctions to “raise its negotiating power.”

"There have been outrageous arguments coming out of the US State Department that it won't ease sanctions until a denuclearization is completed, and reinforcing sanctions is a way to raise its negotiating power," state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun, which is the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, wrote in a Monday editorial. 

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"How could the sanctions, which were a stick the US administration had brandished as part of its hostile policy against us, promote the two countries' amity?" the newspaper added.

According to the newspaper, Pyongyang has exhibited good faith by ending nuclear weapons testing, dismantling its Punggye-ri nuclear test site and returning the remains of 200 US soldiers who died during the Korean War.

"We got back our great fallen heroes, the remains sent back today, already 200 got sent back," US president Donald Trump told a crowd of supporters during a rally in Minnesota in June.

On Monday, one of North Korea's propaganda websites, Uriminzokkiri, called the US sanctions against North Korea "anachronistic," while Maeri, another North Korean website, called for the US to build confidence in response to North Korea's recent "goodwill measures."

"It takes two to tango," the website said. 

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Kim Eui-kyeom, a spokesman for South Korea's presidential Blue House, also told reporters Monday that South Korea, "would want North Korea to speed up denuclearization, and the United States to show a sincere attitude toward what North Korea demands as corresponding action," Business Insider reported Monday.

North Korea's statements come just a couple days after the UN released a report, obtained by Reuters, claiming that Pyongyang has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs. In addition, South Korea is currently investigating nine cases of coal shipments from North Korea entering its ports, according to Seoul's foreign ministry and customs officials, the New York Times reported Monday. Although South Korean officials refused to identity the companies involved in the shipments, they noted that the investigation was in its final phase after the completion of forensic analysis.

The six-month UN report by independent experts monitoring the implementation of UN sanctions was submitted to the Security Council North Korea sanctions committee Friday, according to Reuters. 

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"[North Korea] has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs and continued to defy Security Council resolutions through a massive increase in illicit ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products, as well as through transfers of coal at sea during 2018," the 149-page report said, Reuters reported Friday.

In September, the UN Security Council tightened the sanctions regime against Pyongyang over its nuclear program, limiting North Korean crude oil and petroleum imports.

The relationship between the US and North Korea improved in the last several months, with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attending a top-level summit with Trump in June in Singapore. However, the US has repeatedly stressed that sanctions against Pyongyang will remain in place until the communist country attains complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.

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