North Korea Threatens to Resume Nuclear Development if U.S. Does Not Lift Economic Sanctions

North Korea has warned it could revive a state policy aimed at strengthening its nuclear arsenal if the United States does not lift economic sanctions against the country. A statement released by the Foreign Ministry on Friday evening said North Korea could bring back its “pyongjin” policy of simultaneously advancing its nuclear force and economic development if the United States doesn’t change its stance. “Pyongjin” means “dual advancement.”

The North stopped short of threatening to abandon ongoing nuclear negotiations with Washington. Still, it accused Washington of derailing commitments made by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump at their June summit in Singapore to work toward a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

This marks the first time the North said it could potentially resume weapons tests and other development activities since Kim signaled a new state policy in April.

Two sources told CBS News’ Pamela Falk that the threat from North Korea is timed to put easing of sanctions on the agenda next week in meetings with the State Department. In an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he plans to talk next week with his North Korean counterpart, apparently referring to senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol.

Pompeo did not provide the location and date for the meeting, which will likely be focused on persuading North Korea to take firmer steps toward denuclearization and setting up a second summit between their leaders.

“A lot of work remains, but I’m confident that we will keep the economic pressure in place until such time as Chairman Kim fulfills the commitment he made to President Trump back in June in Singapore,” Pompeo said.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry statement, released under the name of the director of the ministry’s Institute for American Studies, said the “improvement of relations and sanctions is incompatible.”

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SOURCE: CBS News, The Associated Press