North Korea on Friday threatened to revive a state policy aimed at nuclear development if the U.S. does not lift economic sanctions imposed on the country.
The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that North Korea is facing pressure from the U.S. and South Korea to relinquish its nuclear program, NBC News reported.
North Korea did not threaten to pull out of ongoing nuclear negotiations with Washington, but floated the idea of bringing back its "pyongjin" policy” to advance its nuclear force.
"If the U.S. keeps behaving arrogantly without showing any change in its stand, while failing to properly understand our repeated demand, the DPRK may add one thing to the state policy for directing all efforts to the economic construction adopted in April and as a result, the word 'pyongjin' may appear again," the statement reads, referring to North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The statement marks the first time North Korea has signaled a chance at resuming nuclear weapons tests and further development since the country's leader, Kim Jong Un, signed the new state policy, NBC News reported.
The Foreign Ministry's statement, released under the name of the director of the ministry's Institute for American Studies, said the "improvement of relations and sanctions is incompatible,” according to NBC News.
"The U.S. thinks that its oft-repeated 'sanctions and pressure' leads to 'denuclearization.' We cannot help laughing at such a foolish idea," it said.
NBC News noted that the statement did not elaborate what commitments were being blocked.
Pyongyang accused Washington of trying to disrupt promises made between Kim and President Trump when they met during a historic summit in Singapore this summer.
The two leaders signed an agreement committing the United States to unspecified “security guarantees” in exchange for a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.
Trump also decided to call off joint military exercises with South Korea. In exchange, North Korea said it unilaterally suspended nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests and closed a nuclear testing facility.
North Korea’s "proactive and good-will measures” were supposed to be met with reciprocity by the U.S. in lifting sanctions, the Foreign Ministry said, according to NBC News.
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said last month that the country is contemplating lifting some of the sanctions it has imposed against North Korea in an effort to further improve relations between the two countries.
The South has had unilateral sanctions in place against North Korea since a 2010 attack on a warship killed 45 sailors from South Korea.