World Bulletin / News Desk
Senior North Korean diplomat Han Tae-song was quoted by state media Friday as insisting that Pyongyang is ready to join global efforts to rid the world of nuclear weapons. But according to KCNA news agency, he also condemned as "misleading and dangerous" the idea that the North is only willing to denuclearize due to sanctions.
Han was apparently at this week's United Nations disarmament conference in Switzerland, where he serves as North Korean ambassador.
"The discontinuation of nuclear tests is an important process for global disarmament," he said.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un committed to peace and denuclearization during the first inter-Korean summit in over a decade last month, having shifted from a policy of rogue nuclear weapons development to dialogue after years of intensifying sanctions.
While Kim has also lined up an unprecedented meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump on June 12, the North cast doubt on that summit earlier this week -- pulling out of planned inter-Korean talks on Wednesday due to the South's ongoing military drills with the U.S. and then warning Washington not to draw up denuclearization plans unilaterally.
Pyongyang has been particularly upset by the recommendation -- advocated by Trump's security adviser John Bolton -- that North Korea should denuclearize according to the Libya model, meaning that Pyongyang should give up nukes before receiving any benefits.
Trump appeared eager to dispel that concern when speaking to reporters at the White House Thursday, promising greater protection to Kim and urging him to come forward and make a deal that would make the North Korean leader "very, very happy".
Meanwhile, North Korea's official in charge of inter-Korean affairs, Ri Son-gwon, stated via a separate KCNA report Thursday that talks with the current South Korean government could be abandoned completely "unless the serious situation which led to the suspension of the north-south high-level talks is settled".
Ri was referring to Pyongyang's claim that the allies are conducting a military drill aimed at preparing for an invasion, as well as its displeasure over comments by high-profile North Korean defector Thae Yong-ho in Seoul's parliament Monday.
Thae, who escaped his post as a diplomat in London in 2016, is skeptical that the North is truly ready to denuclearize -- but Ri referred to him in the KCNA dispatch as "human scum" and blamed South Korean President Moon Jae-in for allowing him to criticize the Kim regime.
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Probe by Israeli rights group B'Tselem concludes that intentional fatal shot was fired at the Palestinian paramedic.
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Here are five takeaways from the news conference that followed their first summit, in the Finnish capital Helsinki:
An abandoned mining town in California went on sale for $ 1.4 million
Roughly 80 percent of Iraq’s crude oil exports originate from oilfields in Basra province
Kerem Shalom is Gaza's only functioning commercial crossing
More than 130 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since March
Resources strained as thousand crossing into Canada from US
American Civil Liberties Union granted request to halt deportations for one week after reunification
Trump declared that US-Russian relations have turned a corner after a summit with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that he described as "open, direct and deeply productive".
Operation is aimed at restoring confidence after last year’s illegitimate poll on Kurdish regional independence
The U.S. State Department is negotiating a potential deal to sell Turkey the Raytheon Co Patriot missile defense system as an alternative to the Russian-made S-400 system Turkey has agreed to purchase, an official said on Monday.
ISIL still maintains a limited presence in northern and western Iraq
90 more migrants in critical condition found inside shipping containers