A top North Korean official said Friday that Pyongyang will not engage in joint talks until the United States rolls back its “hostile policy.”
“The rolling back of the hostile policy towards [the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] is the prerequisite for solving all the problems in the Korean Peninsula,” North Korea’s deputy U.N. ambassador Kim In Ryong said, according to Reuters.
“Therefore, the urgent issue to be settled on Korean Peninsula is to put a definite end to the U.S. hostile policy towards DPRK, the root cause of all problems,” he added.
The two countries broached the idea of starting up talks after Pyongyang appeared to be possibly developing sodium cyanide, a chemical regularly used in a nerve agent, the news wire reported.
“As everybody knows, the Americans have gestured [toward] dialogue,” Kim added. “But what is important is not words, but actions.”
U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley denounced the possibility of allowing North Korea to freely process this chemical.
“The thought of placing cyanide in the hands of the North Koreans, considering their record on human rights, political prisoners, and assassinations is not only dangerous but defies common sense,” Haley said in a statement Friday.
North Korea initially submitted an application to a U.N. agency looking to patent a process for the cyanide, which does not grant patents. The chemical can also be used to extract gold.
Rising tensions with U.S.-North Korea escalated earlier this year as North Korea conducted multiple missile launch tests while vowing to target the U.S. in order to combat what it calls American aggression.
President Trump warned in an April interview that a “major, major conflict” with the country is possible, though he said he preferred a diplomatic solution.
The president later said he is open to meeting with his North Korean counterpart, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, under the right conditions.
The U.N. Security Council initially imposed sanctions on North Korea over a decade ago. It first did so in 2006 in response to multiple nuclear tests and rocket launches by the state.