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

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects a constructions site of Yangdeok

If the United States administration believed that heightened sanctions and pressure would force Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons, "it will count as [its] greatest miscalculation and it will block the path to denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula forever - a result desired by no one", according to a statement released under the name of the policy research director of the Institute for American Studies.

Pyongyang has stayed mostly away from provocations as it has turned to diplomacy in its dealings with the rival South. Analysts in Seoul said Thursday Kim Jong Un's New Year message should be examined closely for clues about Pyongyang's policy in 2019.

North Korea has warned that new U.S. sanctions against senior figures in the regime are a "deliberate provocation" that could derail its attempts to denuclearize, six months after its leader, Kim Jong-un held historic talks with Donald Trump.

Analysts say the younger Kim's emergence on the global stage has been bolstered by his willingness over the past year to partake in peace talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and denuclearization talks with President Trump.

Sunday's developments came as North Korea marked the seventh anniversary of the death of former leader Kim Jong-il with visits to statues and vows of loyalty to his son and successor, Kim Jong-un.

It said if Washington continues to escalate its sanctions and human rights campaign against the North, . the approach could permanently end any chance of denuclearizing the regime.

The commentary deliberately focused its criticism on the State Department and administration officials, not at Trump, suggesting that Pyongyang remains open to another summit.

That meeting was postponed indefinitely after the two sides failed to find common ground over Pyongyang's demand for sanctions relief and calls by Washington for progress on denuclearisation.

Mr. Jong is minister of state security, Mr. Choe heads the Organization and Guidance Department and Mr. Pak is director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department. Trump has suggested he could meet Kim again early next year.

"Many people have asked how we are doing in our negotiations with North Korea - I always reply by saying we are in no hurry", he tweeted.

The statement by North Korea's Foreign Ministry was carried by the regime's official Korean Central News Agency.

Such restrictions may have little impact on officials in one of the world's most closed countries but will have a clear symbolic force as North Korea seeks greater acceptance by the United States.

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