North Korea says denuclearization not on negotiating table

North Korea says denuclearization has “already gone out of the negotiation table” and it does not need to have lengthy talks with the United States now

UNITED NATIONS -- North Korea said Saturday that denuclearization has “already gone out of the negotiation table” and it does not need to have lengthy talks with the United States as the end-of-year deadline set by its leader Kim Jong Un for substantial U.S. concessions in nuclear diplomacy looms.

“We do not need to have lengthy talks with the U.S. now and the denuclearization is already gone out of the negotiation table,” he said.

“We regard their behavior as nothing more than a despicable act of intentionally flattering the United States,” Song said.

His comments follow other recent North Korean statements indicating that prospects are dim for a resumption of nuclear diplomacy between the United States and North Korea.

On Thursday, North Korea’s first vice foreign minister, Choe Son Hui, issued a warning threatening to resume insults of U.S. President Donald Trump and consider him a “dotard” if he keeps using provocative language, such as referring to North Korea's leader as “rocket man.”

His statement via state media came days after Trump spoke of possible military action toward the North and revived his “rocket man” nickname for North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un.

North Korea has ramped up its missile tests in recent months, and experts say the launches are likely to continue as a way to pressure Washington into meeting Pyongyang’s demand for new proposals to revive nuclear diplomacy by the end of December.

Diplomatic efforts have largely remained deadlocked since a second summit between Trump and the North Korean leader failed last February.

The North’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that it is entirely up to the United States to choose what “Christmas gift” it gets from the North.

North Korean officials have previously said whether North Korea lifts its moratorium on long-range missile and nuclear tests depends on what actions the U.S. takes.

When Trump and Kim held their first summit in Singapore in June 2018, North Korea said it was willing to deal away its advancing nuclear arsenal in return for outside political and economic benefits.

Before the Singapore talks, North Korea had long said it would denuclearize only if the U.S. withdrew its 28,500 troops from South Korea, ended military drills with the South and took other steps to guarantee the North's security.

But many foreign experts doubt whether North Korea would completely abandon a nuclear program that it has built after decades of struggle and sees as essential to its survival.