US, South Korea must come up with new ways to solve deadlock on nuclear issue, says top North Korean general

Mr Kim Hyong Ryong, North Korea's Vice-Minister of the People's Armed Forces, said that North Korea has worked to build lasting peace but that the situation has relapsed into a "dangerous, vicious cycle". PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING - A senior North Korean military official has blamed the current impasse on the Korean Peninsula on the United States and South Korea, saying that both must come up with new ways to solve the deadlock.

Hostile policies towards Pyongyang would lead to "serious consequences" that could cause the situation on the peninsula to relapse into one of acute confrontation, said Colonel General Kim Hyong Ryong, North Korea's Vice-Minister of the People's Armed Forces, told the Xiangshan Forum in Beijing on Monday (Oct 21).

He warned the US and South Korea from taking any action that would disrupt the stable situation.

Working-level nuclear talks with the US held in Sweden earlier this month ended in a stalemate, with Pyongyang branding them a failure. North Korea has also threatened to end its freeze on long-range missile testing, as economic sanctions on the country remained.

"Though it has been more than one year since the DPRK-US joint statement was adopted, there is no progress in improving bilateral relations between the two countries completely because of the US' anachronistic, hostile policies against the DPRK," said Gen Kim, in the latest reflection of Pyongyang's displeasure with the stalemate. DPRK refers to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the official name for North Korea.

He also blasted South Korea for its "double-dealing attitude" in conducting military exercises with the US and buying advanced military equipment while seeking dialogue with its northern neighbour.

"Those who are pursuing hostile policies against the DPRK should keep in mind that any military provocation escalating tension against the situation's development toward peace and reconciliation will only bring about serious consequences that will return the current situation on the Korean Peninsula to one of acute confrontation," he said.

State media reported last week that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had visited Mount Paektu, the spiritual homeland of the Kim dynasty, hinting that he was planning "a great operation".

Mr Kim has been known to visit the mountain before major policy decisions, and analysts believe the latest one could mark a strategic shift in stance toward the US.

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