North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho called on the U.S. to repeal sanctions against the country and put an end to decades of mistrust between the two nations, adding that it would not "unilaterally disarm" first, United Press International reported.
"Since we have sufficiently consolidated national defense capabilities and war deterrence to cope with the nuclear threats against [us] that have lasted over several decades, concentrating all efforts on economic construction has come up to us as a historic task," Ri said on Saturday during the United Nations General Assembly. "There will be no way we will unilaterally disarm ourselves first."
What did Ri tell the U.N.?
Ri applauded Kim Jong Un's regime for taking steps in goodwill toward denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula including dismantling nuclear test sites, stopping missile testing and pledging not to increase its nuclear technology.
"Comrade Chairman Kim Jong Un conducted energetic summit-level diplomatic activities with a firm determination to turn the Korean Peninsula into a land of peace, free of both nuclear weapons and nuclear threats," Ri said.
Kim "made important breakthroughs in improving North-South relations and [North Korea]-U.S. relations, a turning point for the dramatic easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula," he added.
Ri asked U.N. members to support its efforts in economic improvement and peace.
"Economic reform is the right political choice in improving the people's life. The international society should encourage our efforts in response to our bold measures toward durable peace on the Korean Peninsula," Ri said.
He said continued sanctions are responsible for the recent deadlock between North Korea and the U.S.
"The continued sanctions is deepening mistrust, it is the reason behind the recent deadlock," Ri said. "The perception sanctions will bring us to our knees is a pipe dream of the people who are ignorant about us."
The joint statement signed in June by Trump and Kim in Singapore will be the key to peace and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, according to Ri.
"The current trend of detente will turn into durable peace and complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," Ri said. "The Korean Peninsula, the hottest spot in the globe, will become the cradle of peace and prosperity that contributes to security in Asia and the rest of the world."
Trump and Kim are expected to hold another summit in the coming months.