Two years ago, President Donald Trump met with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un in Singapore, with a hope to better relations and the goal of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.

However, the rogue nation has decided to commemorate the anniversary with an announcement that it plans to build up its military.

In a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Foreign Minister Ri Son-gon said the North would never again gift U.S. President Trump with high-profile meetings and concessions he could boast of as foreign policy achievements unless it “receives something substantial.”

Ri said the North would instead build up its military force “to counter U.S. threats.”

The statement comes after Pyongyang began ratcheting up its rhetoric and measures against both Seoul and Washington. This week, it severed all official cross-border communication lines with the South, and threatened to disrupt the U.S. presidential election in November if Washington did not stay out of inter-Korean affairs.

“The question is whether there will be a need to keep holding hands shaken in Singapore, as we see that there is nothing of factual improvement to be made in the DPRK-U.S. relations simply by maintaining personal relations between our supreme leadership and the U.S. President,” Ri said. “Never again will we provide the U.S. chief executive with another package to be used for achievements without receiving any returns.

There are additional disturbing signs that North Korea is isolating itself even further. North Korean officials say they will sever all communications with South Korea after days of angry rhetoric over leaflets being sent across its border by defectors.

Pyongyang will cut communication lines at the inter-Korean liaison office at the border city of Kaesong, as well as military and presidential hotlines at noon local time on Tuesday, the report by Korean Central News Agency said.

“We have reached a conclusion that there is no need to sit face to face with the [S]outh Korean authorities and there is no issue to discuss with them, as they have only aroused our dismay,” the report said.

North Korean officials have repeatedly expressed outrage in recent days over information leaflets floated on balloons by defectors in South Korea.

These developments may point to worsening conditions in North Korea, which may stem party from COVID-19. While North Korea declares itself essentially coronavirus-free, signs indicate that its food supply has been impacted.

The North Korean government of Kim Jong Un has not officially confirmed any cases of coronavirus. However, in late January, North Korea closed its border with China, essentially ending trade between the two countries.

U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea Tomas Ojea Quintana says the action has exacerbated the food crisis and deepened economic hardships facing North Koreans.

He says an increasing number of families eat only twice a day and some are starving. Even soldiers, he says, reportedly are suffering from food shortages. But he expresses particular concern about thousands of people in secretive political prison camps. He says many reportedly are dying because of hard work and lack of food, contagious diseases and overcrowding.

 

 
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