The US, France, Germany, and Britain sent a letter to all United Nations (UN) member states on June 29 urging them to implement sanctions against North Korea over accusations that Pyongyang had breached a cap on refined petroleum imports. The letter called on the UN member states to comply with Security Council sanctions requiring the repatriation of all North Korean workers by the end of 2019.
North Korea’s mission to the UN said in a statement on Wednesday that the letter showed the US was “practically more and more hell-bent on the hostile acts against the DPRK, though talking about the DPRK-US dialog.”
DPRK is short for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea’s official name.
The mission also said the letter was sent on the same day that Trump expressed willingness to meet Kim during a visit to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on the Korean Peninsula. It said the US behavior was “ridiculous.”
The mission also called on all UN member states to keep vigilant against deliberate attempts by Washington to undermine the peaceful atmosphere created on the Korean Peninsula.
UN experts estimate that tens of thousands of North Koreans are annually sent abroad, mostly to China and Russia, and work in hard conditions to generate hard currency revenue for Pyongyang.
The final deadline for the return of North Korean workers is December 22, according to the letter seen by AFP, and only 34 countries have filed reports to the UN on whether action would be taken to send the workers back.
Washington has spearheaded several rounds of sanctions against Pyongyang at the UN Security Council since 2006.
The bans have mostly targeted Pyongyang’s exports, including coal, iron, lead, textiles, and seafood, while also hindering the imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products.
Trump held a meeting with Kim at the DMZ separating the two Koreas on Sunday, in what was effectively an impromptu get-together that was organized after his tweet. Some analysts say the meeting, their third, was rich in symbolism but poor in substance.
Trump and Kim met for the first time in Singapore last year on Washington’s initiative. They met at a second summit in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, in February. But that summit abruptly ended over disagreements on mutual compromises.
A recent exchange of affable messages between the two led to the meeting at the DMZ.