Kim and Trump have met three times since they embarked on their high-risk nuclear diplomacy in 2018, but negotiations have failed since their second summit in February last year in Vietnam, where the Americans rejected North Korea’s demands for great relief from sanctions in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear capacity.
Kim entered 2020 promising to reinforce his nuclear deterrence in the face of US sanctions and pressure “like a gangster.” Choe’s statement followed a series of similar statements by the North that he would no longer give Trump high-profile meetings that he could brag about as his foreign policy achievements unless he gets something substantial in return.
“Is it possible to have a dialogue or have any dealings with the United States that persist in the hostile policy towards the DPRK without taking into account the agreements already made at the last summit?” Choe said, referring to North Korea by its formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“We do not feel the need to sit face to face with the US, as it does not view the DPRK-US dialogue as nothing more than a tool to deal with its political crisis,” he said.
Some analysts believe North Korea would avoid serious negotiations with the United States at least until the November presidential election, as there is a possibility that the US leadership may change.
Choe said the North has already established a “detailed strategic timeline” to manage what she described as threats from the United States.
“The United States is wrong if it believes that things like the negotiations would still work for us,” he said.
In recent months, the North has also been increasing pressure against South Korea, blowing up an inter-Korean liaison office on its territory and threatening to abandon a bilateral military agreement aimed at reducing tensions. Months of frustration follow over Seoul’s unwillingness to defy U.S.-led sanctions and restart joint economic projects that would bring the bankrupt economy of the North to life.
Northern state media said on Friday that Kim, while overseeing a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party Politburo on Thursday, discussed “import issues related to foreign affairs,” but did not specify what they were.