North Korea says sanctions deepening mistrust against US

President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Wheeling

President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Wheeling

Addressing a packed out arena in West Virginia on Saturday night, he said the North Korean leader had written him "beautiful letters" while they negotiated the country's nuclear disarmament.

"I was really being tough and so was he", he continued, referring to the harsh words the two leaders exchanged before their make-up. No really. He wrote me attractive letters and they're great letters.

"And then we fell in love, okay?" And they are great letters.

Though the speech was relatively positive, the U.S. leader did end by saying he would not be reducing sanctions placed on the country until it was completely denuclearized.

The North Korean foreign minister told the United Nations assembly that his government had stopped nuclear and missile tests, dismantled a nuclear test site and continued to make efforts to build trust.

By contrast, Trump in his remarks to the assembly on Tuesday, thanked Kim "for his courage and for the steps he has taken".

'The sanctions will stay in place until denuclearization occurs'.

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The foreign minister told the UNGA that USA attempts to coerce North Korea into denuclearization will not work and that corresponding steps must be taken by both sides in order to advance progress between the two countries.

North Korea's foreign minister said Saturday that there was "no way we will denuclearize" without getting trust-building concessions from the United States, an assertion that reflected a continuing divide over efforts to ease nuclear tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

FILE - U.S. President Donald Trump holds up a document he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had signed at their summit on Sentosa Island, Singapore, June 12, Singapore.

While Ri reprised familiar North Korean complaints about Washington's resistance to a "phased" approach to denuclearization under which North Korea would be rewarded as it took gradual steps, his statement appeared significant in that it did not reject unilateral denuclearization out of hand as Pyongyang has done in the past.

Donald Trump followed those comments by saying Wednesday he had received an "extraordinary letter" from Kim Jong Un, and sounded optimistic about prospects for a second summit between the two leaders "fairly quickly".

The minister instead highlighted three meetings between Kim and South Korean leader Moon Jae-in in the past five months and added: "If the party to this issue of denuclearization were South Korea and not the USA, the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula would not have come to such a deadlock".

"The perception that sanctions can bring us on our knees is a pipe dream of the people who are ignorant of us", Ri said. But there is widespread skepticism that Pyongyang is serious about renouncing an arsenal that the country likely sees as the only way to guarantee its safety.

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