A spokesman for North Korea's foreign ministry accused the United States of trying to shift the blame for the breakdown of the summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump in February by raising a "completely irrelevant issue".
North Korea should discuss the return of a US warship it seized more than 50 years ago if it has issues with the detention of a cargo vessel accused of violating United Nations sanctions, National Security Adviser John Bolton said Saturday.
Kim has set a year-end deadline for the United States to show more flexibility, but Trump and other USA officials have brushed that aside, calling for Kim to take action on a commitment to denuclearize.
Now, missiles are being tested, talks have completely dried up and threatening language is on the rise, with both sides demanding the other back down, in what amounts to a nuclear-armed staring match. UN Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 1695, specifically prohibits North Korea from launching any ballistic missiles, he said, adding: "I know that because I wrote it".
The North's statement on Friday, released by its official news agency KCNA, reiterated its stance. "In terms of violating U.N. Security Council resolutions, there is no doubt about that".
Bolton's comments came a day after North Korea's official media said nuclear negotiations with Washington won't resume unless the USA. abandons what Pyongyang describes as unilateral disarmament demands.
The official was referring to North Korea by the initials of its official name - the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
The "underlying cause" of the "setback" in Hanoi was "the arbitrary and dishonest position taken by the United States", it quoted a North Korean foreign ministry spokesperson as saying.
Bolton also urged Kim to agree to a meeting with the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, which he said could help restart dialogue on North Korea's weapons programmes.
The U.S. has maintained the talks failed because of North Korean demands for sanctions relief in exchange for a partial dismantling of its nuclear programs.
"The president's opened the door to North Korea, and we're just waiting for them to walk through it", he said.
A statement issued Friday through Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency, citing a North Korean spokesman, accused the USA of intentionally causing the talks to collapse with impossible demands.
"It would certainly be in North Korea's interest to hold that meeting", he said. Abe had said previously he won't meet Kim unless the North takes concrete steps toward denuclearization and resolves a decades-long dispute involving Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea.
Abe had spoken about the abductees nearly every single time he spoke with Trump on the phone or in person since Trump took office, Bolton said.
However, the president will visit South Korea when he returns to the Far East in June for Group of 20 meetings in Osaka, Japan, Bolton said. "We are waiting to see some response from the North Korean regime".
Bolton said he supported a possible Abe-Kim summit as an additional push toward resolving North Korea's missile and nuclear threats.