North Korea marks 7th anniversary of Kim Jong Il's death
19:30, Dec 17, 2018
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While crediting Trump for his "willingness" to improve relations with North Korea, also known as DPRK, Pyongyang accused the US State Department of being "bent on bringing the DPRK-US relations back to the status of previous year, which was marked by exchanges of fire".
North Korea once again lashed out at the United States, accusing the State Department of "blocking the path to denuclearization" forever by strengthening sanctions amid a recent stalemate in talks between Pyongyang and Washington.
Efforts to denuclearize North Korea have made little progress since the historic summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump in June, . where both sides agreed to work on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
The North Korean Foreign Ministry issued a biting statement days after the administration leveled human rights-related sanctions against officials close to Mr. Kim.
The ministry said that, if the USA believes North Korea would give up its nuclear weapons by increasing sanctions and their "human rights racket to an unprecedented level",.it would be the (quote) "greatest miscalculation".
"[Trump] avails himself of every possible occasion to state his willingness to improve DPRK-U.S. relations", the statement read, using the abbreviation of the country's official name - the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
However, it said the US State Department was "bent on bringing the DPRK-US relations back to the status of past year which was marked by exchanges of fire".
The warning from the North on Sunday came days after the U.S. said it was imposing sanctions on three senior North Korean officials over human rights abuses.
A second summit is expected to be held next year, but Trump faces criticism given that North Korea has taken few concrete steps to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. "We are doing just fine!"
Virtually all homes and public offices in North Korea feature portraits of the elder Kims, who are also memorialised in countless statues, mosaics and cenotaphs around the country.
There remains "wonderful potential for great economic success" for North Korea, Mr. Trump tweeted, adding that Mr. Kim "sees it better than anyone and will fully take advantage of it for his people".
Despite the request - which have at times been more along the lines of threats - the US has maintained the crippling sanctions.
His friendship with Kim Jong-un included jet-skiing together and savoring cocktails on one of the North Korean dictator's yachts. Kovrig is a Canadian diplomat on a leave of absence from Global Affairs who's now working with the International Crisis Group .
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