"N Korea accuses US of 'bad attitude" in nuclear talks

REUTERS  Joshua Roberts

REUTERS Joshua Roberts

Washington and Pyongyang's different take on the outcome of the latest meeting pointed to discord as North Korea accused the United States of making unilateral and "gangster-like" demands.

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.

Trump and Kim Jong-un signed an agreement at a June 12 summit pledging to "work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".

When asked about the report from June, Pompeo said the USA has talked to North Korea about the issue and how to achieve "what Chairman Kim [Jong-un] and President Trump both agreed to".

"The high-level talks this time brought us in a risky situation where we may be shaken in our unshakable will for denuclearisation, rather than consolidating trust between the DPRK and the USA". The State Department said its policy remains unchanged. "It can be your miracle in North Korea as well". Both were intended for North Korea's dictator Kim Jong Un. The spokesman also downplayed the significance of the USA suspending its military exercises with South Korea, saying the North had made a larger concession by blowing up the tunnels at its nuclear test site.

He said there were numerous UN Security Council resolutions demanding North Korea hands over its nuclear material. "These are complicated issues but we made progress on nearly all of the central issues".

Before leaving Pyongyang, Pompeo told reporters that his conversations with senior North Korean official Kim Yong-chol had been productive, conducted in good faith and that a great deal of progress had been made in some areas.

Some US experts on North Korea said the ongoing disputes show the risk of Washington granting premature concessions to Pyongyang.

Whether the North will set a concrete time line for denuclearization and honestly declare all of its facilities related to its nuclear and ballistic missile programs will be the very first and perhaps the most important steps for denuclearization, multiple senior officials at the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo have said.

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He went on to state that the U.S. has "more bullets than they (China) do when it comes to trade", stating that "we can hurt them more than they hurt us".

Those include the formation of working group to determine exactly how North Korea's denuclearisation will be verified and a Thursday meeting with Pentagon officials to discuss the return of remains of Americans soldiers killed during the Korean War.

Pompeo, who is on his third visit to Pyongyang, began his diplomatic outreach to North Korea when he was still Trump's Central Intelligence Agency director and remained the pointman on negotiations after the process became public and he became secretary of state.

Pompeo did not meet Kim as he had done on two previous visits to North Korea this year but handed over a letter to him from Trump.

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".

A former top US diplomat for Asia, Daniel Russel, said the setback was to be expected and warned Trump he is engaged in a long negotiation that would not produce easy quick, made for television results that the president likely wants.

Pompeo said North Korean leadership remained "equally committed" to the goal of denuclearization discussed with Trump during last month's historic summit in Singapore. Kim ended Pompeo's visit on a positive note, telling the top USA diplomat just before he boarded his plane, "We will produce an outcome, results".

Citing multiple diplomatic sources, Kyodo News reported that a team of North Korean diplomats has been sent to Geneva, Bern and Davos to look at conference halls and hotels as potential venues for its denuclearization talks with the US.

North Korea's accusation that Pompeo had made "gangster-like" demands, which came after two days of talks that began in Pyongyang on Friday, contradicted Pompeo's comments on Saturday that he had made progress on "almost all of the central issues".

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