N. Korea Warns of US Continued Sanctions, Pressure

Korean Unification Flag signed at International Tennis tournament

N. Korea Warns of US Continued Sanctions, Pressure

North Korea said its intention to get rid of nuclear weapons is not the result of the Trump administration's imposing sanctions and warned the United States not to mislead "public opinion", according to a report on Sunday.

Impoverished North Korea has been hit by a series of United Nations and US sanctions in recent years in a bid to rein in its nuclear and missile programs.

The North's official KCNA news agency said Washington was "misleading public opinion" by claiming the denuclearization pledge was the result of sanctions and other pressure.

The spokesman also reportedly warned the U.S. to not "deliberately provoke" North Korea by raising human rights issues in the country.

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South Korea's Yonhap news agency said the strategic assets could be referring to the eight US F-22 stealth fighter jets sent to participate in joint annual military training between the two allies.

Kim expressed "his resolution to unify the two times.as the first practical step for national reconciliation and unity", it said, and the North's parliament on Monday adopted a decree to put the move into effect from Saturday.

Describing Pyongyang's recent move as a "sign of weakness" would "not be conducive" to talks, and may "bring the situation back to square one", he added.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump says he has a date for his meeting with the North's leader, Kim Jong-Un. He has said his tough stance had led to the breakthrough. Earlier, the White House said that it would maintain "maximum pressure" on North Korea to wrap up its nuclear program ahead of Trump's meeting with Kim.

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In early March, the United States president accepted an invitation to meet with Kim after months of tensions and exchanges of military threats between the two leaders; a summit that the White House said could take place later this month.

South Korea is expanding its inter-Korean cooperation organisation in retrospect of the improving bilateral ties with North Korea.

In mid-April, Trump confirmed that talks between the United States and North Korea are taking place at "very high levels", shortly before news broke that CIA Director Mike Pompeo had personally met Kim Jong-un following Pompeo's nomination as USA secretary of state.

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