Over the weekend, North Korea issued a statement warning that they will “seriously consider” returning to the development on nuclear weapons if the US continues to refuse to ease economic sanctions against them.
Since North Korea halted nuclear testing and has made substantial diplomatic progress, many nations have advocated for some early sanctions relief, but so far every such effort has been blocked by the US. North Korea is growing increasingly impatient with that, and with the Trump Administration refusing to reach a peace treaty with them.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dismissed the threats, and reiterated that the US has no intention of allowing any sanctions relief until America achieves its “ultimate objective.” Though this is meant to be understood as nuclear disarmament, some in North Korea have been increasingly vocal in fearing that the US will never deliver on anything once they’ve already gotten what they want.
Pompeo says he will be meeting with North Korea’s number two this week in New York, which may be an attempt to smooth this over, as well as a chance to discuss a new Trump-Kim summit. At this point, however, the administration’s position of insisting all their demands be met unconditionally and that they don’t have to do anything in return is clearly wearing thin.