Sunday, 18 November, 2018

U.S. attitude during denuclearization talks 'regrettable', says North Korea

North Korea lashes out at US calls talks'extremely regrettable US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the Pentagon team would be meeting with North Korean officials for more talks
Ellis Copeland | 09 July, 2018, 18:45

North Korea had expressed regret on Saturday over the attitude of U.S. negotiators during talks between the country and Pompeo in Pyongyang last week to work out details on how to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula as agreed to by their leaders in their recent summit meeting. The accusation came after Pompeo visited Pyongyang and declared that the talks were productive.

The senator's comments come just one day after North Korea's official KCNA news agency released a statement from an unnamed foreign ministry spokesperson which said that "the attitude of the U.S. was indeed regrettable" during Pompeo's talks with Pyongyang.

"We had expected that the USA side would offer constructive measures that would help build trust based on the spirit of the leaders" summit. we were also thinking about providing reciprocal measures, ' it said. Instead, the statement said, the United States had continued its calls for "CVID": complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization. "But expectation and hope of ours were so naive as to be foolish", read the statement.

In Hanoi on Sunday, Pompeo appealed to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to replicate Vietnam's dynamic economic growth by embracing normalized ties with the U.S. He says the evolution of post-conflict relations between the U.S. and Vietnam is proof that America's foes need not remain enemies.

After he met Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Taro Kono, Pompeo said he was in Tokyo to discuss the U.S. alliance with Japan and maintaining "maximum pressure" on North Korea, an expression Trump's administration had backed away from after the Singapore summit.

"Sanctions will remain in place until final fully verified denuclearization as agreed to by Chairman Kim Jong-un has occurred", he said.

But for that to happen, its leader Kim Jong Un needed to seize the moment.

Mr Kim made a broad commitment in Singapore to "work toward denuclearisation" but did not give details on how or when he would dismantle North Korea's nuclear programme.

It added the talks with Pompeo were "regrettable".

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"While we are encouraged by the progress of these talks, progress alone does not justify the easing of the sanctions regime", he said.

Pompeo spoke after North Korea said the talks "brought us in a unsafe situation where we may be shaken in our unshakable will for denuclearisation, rather than consolidating trust". He and Kim Yong Chol met for almost three hours Friday and then had dinner.

Unlike his previous visits, which have been one-day affairs during which he has met Kim Jong-un, Pompeo spent the night at a government guesthouse in Pyongyang and did not see the North Korean leader, although United States officials had suggested such a meeting was expected.

Heather Nauert, a spokesperson for the state department, tweeted a number of photos during the talks, including one of a beaming Mr Pompeo pictured after the final meeting.

"We did have very serious discussions on very important matters yesterday", Kim said.

Pompeo, who spoke with Trump, national security adviser John Bolton and White House chief of staff John Kelly by secure phone before starting Saturday's session, replied that he "slept just fine".

"Realistically, the only way you get to a denuclearised North Korea is if it has a better relationship with the United States".

Pompeo said he did not meet Kim on his latest visit to Pyongyang, as he had twice before, and he had not anticipated doing so.

Yet three weeks later, the two sides were still divided on all the issues, including exactly what denuclearization means and how it might be verified.

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