Monday, 19 November, 2018

China Rebuffs Trump’s Blame in North Korea Denuclearization Fallout

S. Korea approves rare screening of N. Korea films Kim Jong Un snubbed Mike Pompeo for potato farm visit, state media suggests
Ellis Copeland | 12 July, 2018, 17:56

North Korean officials reportedly did not show up Thursday at a scheduled meeting with USA officials to discuss returning the remains of American soldiers, and instead suggested talking with United Nations military leaders about the issue.

The agreement on the return of remains of Americans believed to have been lost on the North Korean side of the border during the 1950-53 war, "including the immediate repatriation of those already identified", was the only concrete commitment on the four-point summit declaration.

It would be the first such repatriation in more than a decade after a joint search effort was halted amid rising tensions over the North's nuclear weapons program.

Trump has claimed the USA pays far too much of NATO's defense budget while other members fail to meet the agreed 2 percent of gross domestic product. The U.S. was also supposed to receive the remains of servicemen killed in the Korean War of the early 1950s.

South Korea approved a rare screening of North Korean movies at a local film festival on Tuesday, as a diplomatic thaw gains pace following two landmark summits between their leaders.

"North Korea not showing up could be an expression of dissatisfaction toward the USA for making excessive demands in the high-level talks last week", Kyungnam University professor Kim Dong-yub said".

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North Korea's criticism of talks with Pompeo fueled further doubts about whether Trump will ever achieve his goal of "complete denuclearization", much less on the timeline of one to 2-1/2 years set out by various administration officials. Identities would not be confirmed until after what is often a lengthy and complicated forensics process. His top deputy, who took the meeting in Kim's absence, said his boss was out of town without revealing what was more important than a sit-down with the top US diplomat.

While reports stated the return would not involve payment, other than reimbursement for the costs incurred in recovering and repatriating the remains, reference to payments may have displeased Pyongyang.

China refused to take the blame for a setback in North Korea's path toward denuclearization as bilateral talks between Washington and Pyongyang went sour during U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit there over the weekend.

"Rocket Man" is a nickname Trump used to mock Kim previous year when the two traded insults over North Korea's testing of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles targeted at the US. "We're going to continue to work through that", the vice president said.

North Korea may allow the United States to resume a search for thousands of American war dead from the 1950-53 Korean War, but it will be months before excavations can begin and years until bone fragments are identified, a senior USA official said.

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