ANKARA

A day after slamming the US for what it termed “interference” in inter-Korean relations, North Korea on Friday hardened stance and vowed to boost its nuclear capacity.

In a detailed statement on the second anniversary of Singapore bilateral summit by Norht Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump, Pyongyang’s Foreign Affairs Minister Ri Son Gwon said hope for boosted North Korea-US relations dimmed.

“What stands out is that the hope for improved DPRK-US relations — which was high in the air under the global spotlight two years ago — has now been shifted into despair characterized by spiraling deterioration and that even a slim ray of optimism for peace and prosperity on the Korean peninsula has faded away into a dark nightmare,” said Ri in a statement carried by state-run Korean Central News Agency, referring to the June 12 summit between Kim and Trump in 2018.

The DPRK stands for Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the official name of North Korea.

However, North Korea’s foreign minister admitted people of the two countries desire for better relations. “Yet the situation on the Korean peninsula is daily taking a turn for the worse.”

Ri said North Korea had totally shut down its northern nuclear test site, repatriated scores of American prisoners of war or their remains, granted special pardon for the convicted felons of US nationality who were held in detention. “All these measures taken by our Supreme Leadership are indisputably significant ones of epoch-making resolve,” Ri said.

“Especially, we made a strategic determination whereby we took an initiative for suspending nuclear test and test launch of ICBMs [intercontinental ballistic missile] in order to build confidence between the DPRK and the US,” he added.

But he said North Korea under Kim in its recent Fourth Enlarged Meeting of the Seventh Central Military Commission has “discussed the national strategy for nuclear development in conformity with the prevailing internal and external situation and solemnly declared on further bolstering the national nuclear war deterrent to cope with the US’ unabated threats of nuclear war.”

The North Korean foreign minister said Washington “professes to be an advocate for improved relations with the DPRK.”

“But in fact, it is hell-bent on only exacerbating the situation. As a result, the Korean peninsula has now turned into the world’s most dangerous hotspot haunted uninterruptedly by the ghost of nuclear war, streaming completely against a durable and lasting peace which has been committed to by both sides,” he said.

“The DPRK is still on the US list of targets for preemptive nuclear strike, and all kinds of nuclear strike tools held by the US are aimed directly at the DPRK. This is the stark reality of the present day,” he added, referring to routine air and military drills by US forces in South Korea.

“The US is introducing a large number of modern, cutting-edge hardware like stealth fighters and reconnaissance drones worth tens of billions of US dollars in order to transform the south Korean army into the one with offensive posture, and the South Korean authorities are burdened with payment of an astronomical amount of money,” he said.

He said current situation of military activities in South “clearly prove unless the 70-plus-year deep-rooted hostile policy of the US towards the DPRK is fundamentally terminated, the US will as ever remain to be a long-term threat to our state, our system and our people.”

“Never again will we provide the US chief executive with another package to be used for achievements without receiving any returns,” he said. “Nothing is more hypocritical than an empty promise.”

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