Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

USA attitude during denuclearization talks 'regrettable', says North Korea

Pompeo is greeted by North Korean Director of the United Front Department Kim Yong Chol and North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho as he arrives at Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang Tension on display as US delegation meets with North Korea for second day
Steven Clarke | 08 July, 2018, 11:28

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shot back against North Korea on Sunday, saying the regime's criticism that US negotiators acted in a "gangster-like" way during his two-day visit to Pyongyang was unfounded.

In his comments to reporters before leaving Pyongyang, Pompeo said he and Kim Yong Chol had made "a great deal of progress" in some areas.

"So the work that we do, the path toward complete denuclearization, building a relationship between our two countries, is vital for a brighter North Korea and the success that our two presidents demand of us", Pompeo said.

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

'However, the attitude and stance the United States showed in the first high-level meeting (between the countries) was no doubt regrettable, ' the spokesman said.

Nauert said Pompeo had been "very firm" on three basic goals: the complete denuclearisation of North Korea, security assurances, and the repatriation of US remains from the 1950-53 Korean War.

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.

In practical terms, however, he only mentioned that officials from both sides would meet on July 12 as a working group to discuss the repatriation of the remains of some USA soldiers killed during the 1950-1953 Korean War.

'Dealing with North Korea is hard because Kim Jong Un wants it to be hard, ' said Russel, who was assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs in the Obama administration.

A key aim of Mr Pompeo's two days of talks was to firm up North Korea's commitment to denuclearisation.

After spending his first night in the North Korean capital in three visits so far this year, Pompeo left the government guest house where he spent the night to make a secure phone call to U.S. President Donald Trump to provide an update on the talks.

And he said progress had been made towards agreeing "the modalities" of North Korea's destruction of a missile facility.

England makes semi-finals: Southgate praise for prototype Pickford
None of us fancied going home. "I never felt nervous at all during the game and that is how comfortable they made us feel". Speaking after the game, captain Harry Kane said: "I thought we were fantastic today, Sweden made it very hard ".

However, the statement also appeared to separate North Korea's annoyance with the USA from its relationship with Trump himself.

Pompeo offered a different view on the discussions when he talked to reporters on Saturday.

"The results of the talks are extremely worrisome", read a North Korean statement attributed to an unnamed official. Pompeo is due to meet in Tokyo on Sunday with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, according to the State Department.

Before he left Pyongyang, Pompeo said U.S. negotiators and their North Korean counterparts discussed the idea of a full declaration of North Korean weapons of mass destruction stockpiles, and setting a timeline for giving them up.

During the second day of his visit, an expected meeting between Pompeo and Kim Jong-un failed to materialize.

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

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. After the Singapore summit, Mr. Trump said North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat.

"President Trump is committed to a brighter future for North Korea", Pompeo was quoted as having said in the pool report.

Meanwhile, North Korea says it disagrees with the US calls for denuclearization, and called the discussions with Pompeo very concerning.

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 dismissed Trump's unilateral order to suspend joint USA and South Korean war games as a cosmetic and "highly reversible" concession and criticised U.S. negotiators who "never mentioned" the subject of bringing the 1953 Korean War to a formal end with a peace treaty. "I expect that the DPRK is ready to do the same", Pompeo said, using the initials for North Korea's official name.

Mike Pompeo and Kim Yong-chol say goodbye as the United States envoy departs for Japan. Tensions between Pompeo and North Korean leaders were evident even before the harsh words.

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