Photo: AFP/Jung Yeon-Je

North Korea’s state news agency is admonishing so-called hardliners in the US, Japan and South Korea not to “spoil” an improving diplomatic atmosphere in a further sign that Pyongyang wants to keep a planned summit between President Donald Trump and leader Kim Jong-un on an even keel.

“We do like to remind that it is time for all to approach everything with prudence and with self-control and patience,” a Wednesday commentary from the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

KCNA also criticized current and former officials and analysts in the US and Japan, along with conservatives in South Korea, for saying Pyongyang had been pushed into a corner by tougher sanctions imposed by the US and its allies.

“At this time, the dishonest forces in the US and Japan and the conservative group of south Korea are peddling groundless stories distorting the truth in a bid to mislead public opinion,” said the commentary entitled,  “KCNA Blasts Dishonest Forces’ Distortion of Truth.”

In addition to US hardliners, the statement also singled out the “Abe group” headed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean conservatives of the “Liberal Korea Party” for arguing that Pyongyang had come to the table because of a get-tough US posture or to cynically drive a wedge in the US-South Korean alliance.

Trump and Kim are expected to meet in a historic summit by late May. Pyongyang has been noticeably measured in its official references to the US and its allies since the two sides agreed to step up negotiations.

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