At UN, North Korea accuses US of holding back progress

North Korean Ambassador Kim Song, seen here in September 2019, has denounced the attitude of the United States and South Korea (AFP Photo/Don Emmert)

North Korea on Monday accused the United States and South Korea of hostility that has prevented progress towards peace on the peninsula, in a speech to the United Nations.

Addressing the UN General Assembly, North Korea's ambassador, Kim Song, highlighted how Pyongyang has not carried out tests of nuclear weapons or long-range missiles for more than 20 months -- a moratorium often hailed by President Donald Trump.

"It is the clearest expression of our sincere goodwill and tolerance to meet the universal desire of the international community for peace and stability on the Korean peninsula," he said.

But he added: "The situation of the Korean peninsula has not extricated itself from the vicious cycle of aggravated tension, which is entirely attributable to the political and military provocations perpetrated by the US."

He charged that the United States was "resorting to the anachronistic hostile policy" against North Korea.

He also accused South Korea -- whose dovish president, Moon Jae-in, paved the way for three US-North Korean meetings -- of "double-dealing behavior" by modernizing its military at the same time.

Trump has hailed his relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and voiced hope for a potentially landmark deal on ending Pyongyang's nuclear program.

But there has been little visible progress since a February summit in Hanoi ended with no deal.

The two countries held working-level talks last month in Sweden, where North Korea again denounced the US attitude, although Washington offered a more upbeat assessment.

North Korea has sought an end to punishing sanctions but the United States has insisted that Pyongyang first take tangible denuclearization steps.