North Korea insulted US President Donald Trump again on Monday, calling him a “thoughtless and sneaky old man” after he tweeted that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wouldn’t want to abandon a special relationship between the two leaders and affect the American presidential election by resuming hostile acts.
A senior North Korean official, former nuclear negotiator Kim Yong Chol, said in a statement that his country wouldn’t cave in to US pressure because it has nothing to lose and accused the Trump administration of attempting to buy time ahead of an end-of-year deadline set by Kim Jong Un for Washington to salvage nuclear talks.
Nuclear negotiations faltered after a February summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un in Vietnam broke down when the US side rejected North Korean demands for broad sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities.
Kim has said North Korea will seek a “new way” if the US maintains its sanctions and pressure, and issued the deadline for the Trump administration to offer mutually acceptable terms for a deal.
Trump warned Sunday that North Korea’s Kim had “everything” to lose through hostility towards the United States, after Pyongyang said it had carried out a major new weapons test.
“Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way,” Trump tweeted in response to the unspecified test at the Sohae space launch center.
The announcement of Saturday’s test came just hours after Trump said he would be “surprised” by any hostile action from the North, emphasizing his “very good relationship” with Kim.
Trump and Kim engaged in months of mutual insults and threats of devastation in 2017, sending tensions soaring before a diplomatic rapprochement the following year.
The pair have met three times since June 2018 but with little progress towards denuclearization. Pyongyang has set Washington a December 31 deadline to make new concessions to kickstart stalled talks.
“North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, has tremendous economic potential, but it must denuclearize as promised,” Trump tweeted.
“NATO, China, Russia, Japan, and the entire world is unified on this issue!”
Writing that Kim had “signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement” at their June 2018 summit in Singapore,” Trump warned: “He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November.”