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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

17 December, 2018

In a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency, the North said Trump had repeatedly expressed his desire to improve relations with Pyongyang, but the US State Department was "bent on bringing the DPRK-US relations back to the status of a year ago which was marked by exchanges of fire".

If the US administration believed that heightened sanctions and pressure would force Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons, "it will count as (its) greatest miscalculation, and it will block the path to denuclearization on the Korean peninsula forever - a result desired by no one", according to the statement.

Despite many predictions from outside experts that he would not be up to the task, Kim Jong Un has consolidated his power, bolstered the country's economy in the face of intense global sanctions, and attained a goal his father and grandfather could only dream of - he is the first North Korean leader to possess an arsenal of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles capable of reaching the United States.

The warning from the North on Sunday came days after the USA said it was imposing sanctions on three senior North Korean officials over human rights abuses.

It said if Washington continues to escalate its sanctions and human rights campaign against the North, . the approach could permanently end any chance of denuclearizing the regime.

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However, it said the US State Department was "bent on bringing the DPRK-US relations back to the status of a year ago which was marked by exchanges of fire".

These tweets came just a few hours after a report by NBC News on a top-secret USA military assessment that had found that North Korea had been effective at evading United Nations sanctions. The trio is also accused of human rights violations.

Hong Min, a researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification, said at a forum on peninsula issues the North could have delayed talks on denuclearization because it may have to deal with domestic constituents before returning to the world stage, Seoul Pyongyang News reported. Administration officials have said for months that they are pushing for a second Trump-Kim summit, although Mr. Trump suggested Friday that momentum for the summit is lacking. "We are doing just fine!"

North Korea is reportedly expanding a missile base deep in its mountainous interior near its border with China; State Department correspondent Rich Edson reports. The line was created to give South Korea reaction time in the event of a North Korea provocation.

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