Ramping up pressure on the United States, North Korea on Tuesday accused the Trump administration of demanding too much but offering too few concessions in its negotiations over the terms of denuclearizing the North.
Up to now, North Korea has demanded almost daily that the United States join North and South Korea in declaring an end to the Korean War as an initial confidence-building concession from Washington before taking steps to denuclearize. The war was halted with a truce in 1953 but a peace treaty was never signed.
The United States insists that before it grants any concessions to North Korea, the North must do more to keep its end of the deal Kim Jong-un reached in his talks with President Trump in Singapore in June — when the North Korean leader promised to “work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
United States officials and analysts have called on the North to submit a full inventory of its nuclear program for verification and to start dismantling its nuclear and missile facilities.
But on Tuesday, North Korea called such demands “rubbish.”
The end-of-war declaration “can never be a bargaining chip for getting the D.P.R.K. denuclearized,” the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said, using the acronym for the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “If the U.S. doesn’t want the end of war, the D.P.R.K. will also not particularly hope for it.”
The commentary indicates the North will drive a hard bargain when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo makes his fourth visit to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, this month. Mr. Pompeo has accepted an invitation to visit the North to narrow differences over the terms of denuclearizing and arrange a new summit meeting between Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump.
Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly last week, the North’s foreign minister, Ri Yong-ho, said his country’s willingness to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula so it could focus on economic development should not be questioned. But Mr. Ri reiterated that North Korea will never give up its nuclear weapons “unilaterally” before Washington proves its trustworthiness by taking “corresponding” steps. He cited Washington’s campaign to escalate sanctions as evidence of continuing American hostility.
On Tuesday, North Korea cited good-will gestures it said it has taken to demonstrate a willingness to move toward denuclearization. Since April, it has declared a moratorium on nuclear and long-range ballistic missile tests and demolished its only-known nuclear test site.
When he met with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea in Pyongyang last month, Mr. Kim also offered to demolish key missile development facilities, including a missile engine test site, and invite outside experts to watch.
Mr. Kim also offered to take further steps, including the “permanent dismantlement” of his country’s main nuclear complex, in Yongbyon, about 60 miles north of Pyongyang, if Washington took corresponding steps.
But such gestures have fallen short of American demands. North Korea has not offered a detailed commitment to dismantling its nuclear arsenal. Nor has it submitted its nuclear inventory, including the number and size of its nuclear weapons and amount of bomb fuel, so they can be verified by international inspectors.
But North Korea said Tuesday that the United States has not done enough. Other than suspending joint military exercises with South Korea this year, Washington has done little to encourage North Korea to take bolder steps toward denuclearization, the North said.
It said Washington should have made the end-of-war declaration a long time ago, instead of trying to use it as a bargaining chip.
Some analysts in Washington and Seoul, the South’s capital, fear that the North would use an end-of-war declaration as a justification to step up its campaign for the withdrawal of 28,500 American troops based in the South.
Mr. Moon, the South’s leader, supports an end-of-war declaration. But he says that he and Mr. Kim share an understanding that the declaration would not affect the status of American troops in South Korea, and would serve only as a prelude to negotiating a peace treaty to formally end the war.
Mr. Moon is banking on Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump to use their personal ties to create a breakthrough in the stalled nuclear talks. Over the weekend, Mr. Trump said that he and Mr. Kim “fell in love” after he received “beautiful” letters from the young North Korean dictator.