SEOUL - A US report calling North Korea a sponsor of terrorism shows a “hostile policy” that prevents progress in denuclearisation talks, the isolated nation said on Tuesday, as a senior US diplomat was set to arrive in the neighbouring South. North Korea accused the United States of failing to show flexibility after a breakdown last month in the first talks between their officials since President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed in June to reopen negotiations. “The channel of dialogue between the DPRK and the US is more and more narrowing due to such attitude,” North Korean state news agency KCNA said, citing a Foreign Ministry official, and using the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). It said a US State Department report on terrorism “proves once again” that US rejection of North Korea indicated “a hostile policy”.

The agency was referring to “Country Reports on Terrorism 2018”, issued last week, which reaffirmed North Korea’s re-designation as a state sponsor of terrorism. Tuesday’s statement came ahead of a visit to Seoul by US Assistant Secretary of State David Stilwell, who is expected to discuss the stalled talks with North Korea, as well as the South’s decision to end an intelligence-sharing pact with Japan. “I look forward to productive meetings with your government so we can reaffirm the security alliance as the cornerstone of the peace and security here in the region,” Stilwell told reporters late on Tuesday upon arrival at Incheon airport. US officials did not describe Stilwell’s agenda in detail, but said he would discuss the strength of the US-South Korea alliance and cooperation across foreign policies. Washington has urged South Korea to rethink a decision to end an intelligence-sharing agreement scrapped in an escalating political and economic dispute with Japan.