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North Korea rejects chemical links to Syria as 'mean United States trick'
March 22 2018, 05:34 | Irvin Gilbert
True focus of all parties must be on Pyongyang talks
On Friday, North Korea denied a media report claiming that Pyongyang has been providing Syria with materials that can be used to manufacture chemical weapons.
The Korean Central News Agency published a commentary on Saturday, noting that the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercises jointly held by South Korean and USA troops are set to be held next month.
For its part, North Korea said it would not give up its nuclear weapons, arguing that it has been driven to develop a nuclear deterrent because of US "hostility".
The UN request coincided with the U.S. imposing its largest package of unilateral sanctions against North Korea on Friday, intensifying pressure on Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons and missile programmes.
Former top National Security Agency official Priscilla Moriuchi recently spoke to Vox about North Korea's use of cryptocurrencies, where she claimed that the country earns upwards of $200 million by turning cryptocurrencies into cash.
Quoting an official of the North Korean Foreign Ministry's Institute for American Studies, the Korea Central News Agency said the United States was perpetrating a "preposterous fabrication yet again". North Korea is believed to have been behind his death, which the reclusive state has strongly dismissed.
But it's not illegal in any way, unlike a lot of the things that North Korea is doing today to generate funds: counterfeiting U.S. dollars and cigarettes or selling wildlife and illegal drugs.
A spokesperson for North Korea's foreign ministry said Saturday that the drills between the U.S. and the South would harm reconciliation efforts on the peninsula, and that the North would be forced to "counter" the U.S., Reuters reported.
"Whether peace desired by our nation and the rest of the world settles on the Korean Peninsula or a situation that no one desires is developed in the vicious cycle of confrontation depends entirely on the attitude of the USA", the spokesman said, according to KCNA.
Regarding U.S. President Donald Trump's remarks on possibly adding stronger sanctions on the North, including a naval blockade, the commentary said Washington is "raging with lunacy for a clash amid the the continued easing of the atmosphere on the peninsula".
The Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang last month gave a boost to recent engagement between the two Koreas after sharply rising tensions over North Korea's missile programme.