Nuke disarmament at risk over US sanctions
North Korea has hit out at the US for stepping up sanctions against its regime, warning that it could force a return to "exchanges of fire" and block the path to nuclear disarmament forever.
Pyongyang's statement, cautioning that the US policy of "maximum pressure" would be its "greatest miscalculation", follows the decision last week to slap sanctions on three North Korean officials, including Choe Ryong-hae, a top aide to leader Kim Jong-un, for alleged human rights abuses.
The US state department justified its vow to seize the officials' US assets by accusing the regime of human rights abuses "among the worst in the world".
North Korea said the US was "bent on bringing... relations back to the status of last year which was marked by exchanges of fire".
It claimed that Washington had imposed sanctions up to eight times against companies, individuals and ships of North Korea, China and Russia and other third countries, adding: "It will block the path to denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula forever - a result desired by no one."
The statement nevertheless credited Donald Trump, the US president, for his "willingness" to improve relations with the North.
A second summit is still expected between Mr Kim and Mr Trump after their first encounter in June, although the US president indicated that he was in "no hurry" to conclude negotiations with Pyongyang. (© Daily Telegraph, London)