[Writer's Choice] South Korea Warned by Pyongyang Not to Mediate Talks with US

Jay Yim, June 28, 2019, 3:24 p.m.

On Thursday North Korea told South Korea that they need to stop facilitating talks between the US and North Korea as the North increased pressure on the United States to salvage nuclear diplomacy between the two nations.

The statement was made two days before President Trump made a two-day visit plan to South Korea following the G20 summit in Osaka. There are no signs, however, of North Korea abanoning talks with the U.S. while they continue to discuss "friendly relations" between Trump and Kim Jong Un.

Since February at the second summit meeting in Hanoi, the two have not met. Kim returned to the North with nothing to show after Trump refused to cooperate with the lifting of sanctions in exchange for denuclearization steps. The failed summit was also a blow to South Korean President Moon Jae In, who was acting as a liaison between the two countries hoping to find a diplomatic settlement on North Korea's nuclear crisis.

Talks of resuming diplomacy did pick up after Trump and Kim recently exchanged personal letters and Moon said earlier this week that the U.S. and North Korean officials were holding "behind-the-scene talks" to hold a possilbe third summit between the two leaders.

Chief of the North Korean Foreign Ministry's U.S. affairs department Kwon Jong Gun said Thursday the North Korea will "never go through" South Korea again when it engages with the United States.

“It’s better for the South Korean authorities to mind their own business at home,” he said.

Kwon made the statement after Chinese President Xi Jinping made a visit to the North. He became the first Chinese president to visit the nation in 14 years. Xi's meeting with Kim according to experts representsed a bid by China to play a greater role as mediator in the nuclear issues with the U.S. so Beijing's leverage over Washington can be boosted in an ongoing trade dispute.

Kwon told the U.S. that they must come up with acceptable nuclear proposals by the end of this year.

“[North Korea]-U.S. talks won’t be held by themselves if the U.S. is repeating the resumption of dialogue like a parrot without thinking about realistic proposals that are in the interests of both sides,” he said.

On Wednesday, officials from North Korea said that the country will not submit to U.S.-led sanctions and accused them of trying to "bring us to our knees." Officials from the United States said that the sanctions will not be lifted unless Kim and his regime take phyiscal steps toward nuclear disarmament.

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