North Korea Urges South Kora and U.S. to Lift Sanctions and Withdraw THAAD

David Lee, May 4, 2018, 7:55 a.m.

North Korea on Thursday urged South Korea and the U.S. to lift sanctions, withdraw the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery in southwestern Korea, and stop mentioning human rights abuses in the North.

The demands came after the recent inter-Korean summit and ahead of a summit with the U.S.

"The American plot against human rights practices is a provocative racket that poses an obstacle to the trend towards dialogue and peace," the official Rodong Sinmun daily said. "We're doubtful of America's sincerity whether it really has the intention to have dialogue."

The Uriminzokkiri propaganda website complained about remarks by U.S. officials in favor of keeping up maximum pressure on the North, calling them "an affront and insult to our sincere efforts towards peace."

State media also said there is "no longer is any justification or excuse" for the presence of the THAAD battery. Propaganda outlet Meari said, "The THAAD battery is an ill-intentioned act running counter to the inter-Korean relations. The battery should be withdrawn immediately."

Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is on a visit to Pyongyang, met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Thursday.

Wang expressed support of the regime's efforts to remove "justifiable worries" about security in the process of denuclearization.

The North's "firm stance is to realize denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula," Kim reportedly said. He added Pyongyang is trying to "find ways to restore dialogue and build mutual trust to remove sources that threaten peace on the peninsula."

A diplomatic source said the phrase "justifiable worries" refers to massive joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises.


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