North Korea marks 7th anniversary of Kim Jong Il's death

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The strongly worded statement from the foreign ministry came almost a week after the Treasury Department blacklisted three North Korean officials, including a top aide to leader Kim Jong Un, for serious human rights abuses and censorship. He had also said his administration was ready to lift sanctions on North Korea but asserted that Pyongyang has to be "responsive" to Washington.

But in the months since the June summit in Singapore, little progress has been made, with the USA saying that sanctions would remain in place until the North's "final, fully verified denuclearization" and Pyongyang condemning "gangster-like" US demands - including a reported appeal for an exhaustive list of the country's nuclear sites.

"Now, the worldwide society is unanimous in welcoming the proactive denuclearization steps taken by the DPRK and urging the respond to these steps in a corresponding manner", it reads.

During the meeting, the two leaders had signed a joint statement agreeing to guarantee peaceful relations as well as the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

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Recalling the rows between North Korea and the USA past year "which was marked by exchanges of fire", the statement further warned the U.S.

Little progress has been made in talks since Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump met at a historic summit in June in a bid to end once for all the North Korea nuclear program.

"Recently, the resorting to an anti-DPRK human rights plot in such a way that it carries a deliberate provocation by adding high-ranking government officials of the DPRK" to its unilateral sanctions list, while taking issue with a non-existent "human rights issue", the statement pointed out.

In recent months, U.S. politicians have "almost every day slandered the DPRK out of sheer malice", added the statement by the policy research director of North Korea's Foreign Ministry's Institute for American Studies. We'll likely soon have an authoritative pitch from Kim Jong Un himself, who should deliver his customary New Year's Day address on January 1, setting up possible demands for diplomacy with the United States.

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The leader urged his party to fulfil its obligations and duties as Kim Jong-il's "revolutionary soldiers".

Despite the latest war of words, a second summit between Mr Trump and Mr Kim is expected to be held next year.

North Korea is claiming the move is a step backwards, adding, it puts denuclearization in jeopardy.

In actions required by Congress, his administration said last week it would seize any USA assets of the three officials for suppressing freedom of speech.

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