Korea warns of returning to nuclear policy

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"Pyongjin" means "dual advancement".

North Korea said it would lift the suspension of nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests and reopen its nuclear testing ground unless Donald Trump's administration changed their stance.

The United States, it added, was making a big mistake if it believed that North Korea would agree to unilateral disarmament as long as sanctions remain in place, and argued that negotiations should be "simultaneous and phased" and based on "reciprocity and equality".

The measures hamper South Korea from pursuing cooperation projects with the North, according to the institute in a statement late Friday.

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But little progress has been made since then, with Washington pushing to maintain sanctions against Pyongyang until its "final, fully verified denuclearisation", and North Korea condemning U.S. demands as "gangster-like".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told journalists that he will meet his North Korean "counterpart" for further talks next week, although he did not specify exactly when, where, or with whom those talks would take place.

"The improvement of relations and sanctions are incompatible, " the Foreign Ministry commentary said.

FILE - People watch a TV screen showing file footage of U.S. President Donald Trump, right, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, June 11, 2018.

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"There is a long way to go to get chairman Kim to live up to the commitment that he made to President Trump and, indeed, to the demands of the world in the UN Security Council resolutions to get him to fully denuclearise".

Ahead of his first summit with Moon in April, Kim said the country should shift its focus to economic development as the "pyongjin" policy had achieved a "great victory". "Without any trust in the USA there will be no confidence in our national security and, under such circumstances, there is no way we will unilaterally disarm ourselves first", Ri said.

Friday's statement said, "If the USA keeps behaving arrogantly without showing any change in its stand, while failing to properly understand our repeated demand, the DPRK may add one thing to the state policy for directing all efforts to the economic construction adopted in April and as a result, the word "pyongjin" may appear again".

Last month, the North's state media carried a near 1,700 words long commentary accusing the U.S. of playing a "double game", implicitly criticizing Trump for his comments aimed at barring Seoul from lifting sanctions against Pyongyang.

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Hours after the statement was released, satellite imagery seen by 38 North suggested that North Korea is continuing uranium mining and milling operations at one of the country's largest declared uranium ore concentrate facilities.

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