North Korea yesterday warned the South to stop “meddling” in nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington, denying President Moon Jae-in’s assertion that dialogue was under way between the two Koreas.
“The reality is the contrary,” senior foreign ministry official Kwon Jong Gun said in a statement carried by the state news agency KCNA.
“The south Korean authorities would better mind their own internal business,” he added, in a stinging rebuke to the North’s neighbour days before US President Donald Trump arrives in Seoul amid a nuclear deadlock.
Negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington have been stalled since February when a second summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un collapsed in Hanoi as the pair failed to agree on what the North would be willing to give up in exchange for sanctions relief.
The two sides have had minimal contact since -- aside from exchanges of letters between their leaders.
The dovish Moon said Wednesday that “behind-the-scenes talks” were going on between the US and the North with a view to preparing for a third summit.
“Also under way is dialogue between the South and the North through diverse channels,” he added in a written interview with leading media.
But Kwon, the director-general of the North’s Department of American Affairs, slammed the South on Thursday, denying that “various forms of exchanges and closed-door meetings” were under way between the Koreas.
Trump is due to fly to Seoul at the weekend for a summit with Moon Jae-in, and the US special representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun arrived yesterday to prepare the visit.
The North’s statement reminded Washington that it did not have much time left until Kim’s end-of-year deadline to adopt “a correct method of calculation” to revive dialogue, Kwon said.
Trump’s visit to the South had fuelled media speculation over a possible trilateral summit with Kim and Moon, but Trump himself has said he will not be meeting Kim.