Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

North Korea Calls Latest Nuke Talks "Regrettable"

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo second from right greets Kim Yong Chol second from left a North Korean senior ruling party official and former intelligence chief as they arrive for a meeting at the Park Hwa Guest House in Pyongyang North Ko The Associated Press
Andrew Cummings | 10 July, 2018, 04:06

Pompeo held more than eight hours of talks with North Korean officials in Pyongyang from Friday, seeking to flesh out a bare bones deal made by United States president Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim last month.

"I am determined to achieve the commitment that President Trump made and I am counting on Chairman Kim to be determined to follow through on the commitment that he made", Pompeo said.

"The issues the USA side insisted on during the talks were the same cancerous ones that the past US administrations had insisted on", the North Korea's foreign ministry said. The two sides also failed to make concrete progress on the return of the remains of US soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War and the demolition of the North's missile launch site in Tongchang-ri.

The rebuke from North Korea - and the fact that Pompeo left the talks with little to show for his effort - suggests that Pyongyang, and not the United States, is setting the terms of negotiation.

"We agreed to the denuclearisation of North Korea", he wrote, despite the fact that the declaration signed by the two leaders refers to the denuclearisation of the "Korean peninsula" - a vague formula that leaves room for various interpretations. He had said progress was made during the talks.

But no details were announced on how or when the reclusive state would dismantle its nuclear program. According to the report, North Korea may be intentionally trying to "deceive the U.S." by continuing these efforts in secret facilities.

However, many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle defended the drills as a necessary deterrent, and say they need to prepare for a potential conflict on the peninsula. "There are things that I have to clarify", Kim, who serves as vice-chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), said.

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South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said her country did not believe Washington had softened its demands, as some USA officials and analysts have suggested. He stressed there was still more work to be done in other areas, much of which would be done by working groups that the two sides had set up to deal with specific issues.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Pyongyang at the weekend to try to flesh out the process, only for the North to warn that it was being jeopardised by overbearing "gangster-like" USA demands. "But expectation and hope of ours were so naive as to be foolish", read the statement.

US news accounts in recent days have shown pictures of what is said to be the expansion of nuclear-related buildings in North Korea.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, reacting to the provocative statement from North Korea, said that if Washington's demands were "gangster-like", then the world is a gangster.

Pompeo wrapped up two days of talks in the North Korean capital on Saturday on an optimistic note even without meeting Kim Jong Un, as he had on his previous two trips. Kim ended Pompeo's visit on a positive note, telling the top U.S. diplomat just before he boarded his plane, "We will produce an outcome, results".

Meanwhile, North Korea lashed out at the United States shortly after Pompeo left, saying the top U.S. diplomat presented a "unilateral and gangster-like" demand for "complete, verifiable and irreversible" denuclearization, a longstanding USA goal.

North Korea has plenty of "founding anniversaries" to choose from if Xi decides he does not want to be in Pyongyang on September 9.

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