North Korea holds political conference before year-end concessions deadline set for US

North Korea holds political conference before year-end concessions deadline set for US
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North Korean state media reported Sunday that the nation has opened a major political conference to address “harsh trials and difficulties” ahead of a year-end deadline the country set for the United States to offer concessions in ongoing nuclear talks, according to The Associated Press.

Chairman Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnTired of worrying about the pandemic? There's always Pyongyang Overnight Defense: Pentagon orders bases to stop reporting coronavirus numbers | Hospital ship arrives in NY | Marines pause sending new recruits to boot camp | Defense bill work delayed North Korea: 'Reckless remarks' by Pompeo show US doesn't want nuclear talks MORE led a meeting of the Workers’ Party’s Central Committee in Pyongyang Saturday, according to the AP, citing the Korean Central News Agency.

The meeting, KCNA said, will focus on finding ways to “overcome the manifold and harsh trials and difficulties and further accelerate the development of the revolution with transparent anti-imperialist independent stand and firm will.”

At its April 2018 meeting, the party agreed to suspend nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile testing. Kim imposed the deadline after he and President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders says he wouldn't 'drop dead' if Trump decided on universal healthcare Overnight Health Care: Trump officials lay groundwork for May reopening | Democrats ramp up talks with Mnuchin on next relief deal | Fauci says death toll could be around 60,000 Hillicon Valley: State officials push for more election funds | Coronavirus surveillance concerns ramp up pressure for privacy bill | Senators warned not to use Zoom | Agencies ask FCC to revoke China Telecom's license MORE were unable to reach an agreement in February during a Vietnam summit, giving Washington until the end of the year to offer new concessions.

Pyongyang has demanded relief from U.S. sanctions as a condition of full denuclearization, with the U.S. refusing to lift those sanctions until North Korea takes further steps to denuclearize. In recent months, Pyongyang has suggested it will resume nuclear and long-range missile testing in the absence of further U.S. concessions.