North Korea: Kim Jong Un accuses Washington of being “root cause” of tensions

No warming of relations in sight. The United States is the “root cause” of the instability on the Korean peninsula, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Tuesday by state media. Despite recent calls for dialogue from the United States, there is no reason “to believe that it is not hostile,” Kim said Monday at the opening ceremony of a defense exhibition in Pyongyang. The Biden administration has repeatedly assured that it has no belligerent intentions towards North Korea, which leaves Mr. Kim skeptical: “I really wonder if people or countries believe that”, a- he said.

Photos released by state media show the leader posing at the exhibit in front of the massive Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) unveiled last year in Pyongyang during a military parade. The dictator was also immortalized seated, smoking, along with senior officials and officers, huge portraits of the leader in military uniform hanging in the exhibition hall.

The North Korean leader was speaking as his country has tested a long-range cruise missile and a missile touted as hypersonic in recent weeks. In 2018, Kim Jong Un was the first North Korean leader to meet with a sitting US president. But talks have stalled since the second summit with Donald Trump in Hanoi in 2019, which failed over international sanctions relief and the gestures Pyongyang was prepared to concede in return. Washington has repeatedly reiterated its willingness to meet with North Korean officials anytime and anywhere, without preconditions.

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