North Korea says U.S. attitude in denuclearization talks 'extremely regrettable'

Howard TerryJul 09, 2018

Speaking after meeting with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts in Tokyo, Pompeo said his two days of talks in Pyongyang had been productive and conducted in good faith.

The North's relatively harsh tone contrasts somewhat with what Pompeo said after holding talks with Kim Yong-chol, a close aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, for two straight days from Friday, though he also admitted that there was "more work to be done".

Meanwhile, soon after Pompeo departed from North Korea on Saturday, senior officials in Pyongyang, in a statement released by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), blasted Pompeo's perhaps overly optimistic views about the talks.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has delivered a dose of harsh reality to Donald Trump, bashing hopes for a quick denuclearization deal in a pointed rebuke to the president's top envoy while accusing the US of making "gangster-like" demands.

The isolated nation might now waver in its "firm, steadfast" resolution to give up its nuclear program, it said. 'If I paid attention to the press, I'd go nuts'.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged North Korea on Sunday to replicate Vietnam in forging a new relationship with the United States, much like Hanoi has done five decades after the Vietnam War against the U.S. ended. Still, the veteran diplomat sees the need for Pompeo, with the backing of the president, to continue negotiating with North Korea for the sake of the USA, its allies in the region and the rest of the world. According to the report, North Korea may be intentionally trying to "deceive the U.S." by continuing these efforts in secret facilities.

"The Kim regime wouldn't want to be seen as if they were somehow being pressured to cave in to the US' demands", he said.

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.

The secretary of state is under pressure to deliver a more concrete disarmament plan after the two leaders signed a vague one and a half page document that didn't provide a timetable for dismantling North Korea's nuclear arsenal.

It was Mr Pompeo's first visit to the North since last month's summit between Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump.

"The settlement of outstanding issues surrounding North Korea, including nuclear, missile and abduction, will be extremely important to Japan, and that will also be extremely important for regional peace and stability", Abe said at the outset of the talks.

Abraham Denmark, a senior defence official for East Asia under former President Barack Obama, said: "This is a rejection of United States demands for unilateral denuclearisation by North Korea, and a clear message that the United States will need to give up more to make progress".

Despite the obstacles, Pompeo said on Saturday that progress had been made in the talks."These are complicated issues but we made progress on nearly all of the central issues", Mr. Pompeo said before departing on Saturday.

Kim asked Pompeo if had slept well, to which Pompeo said he had. "If they're able to do this, they will be remembered and Chairman Kim will be remembered as a hero of the Korean people".

"While we were hopeful there would be some sort of breakthrough, it seems both sides agreed to merely keep talking", Harry Kazianis, an Asia expert at the Center for the National Interest told the Washington Post.

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