Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

Pompeo sees hard road ahead but pursues N.Korean denuclearisation talks

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives for a meeting with Kim Yong Chol a North Korean senior ruling party official and former intelligence chief for a second day of talks at the Park Hwa Guest House in Pyongyang Pompeo sees hard road ahead but pursues N.Korean denuclearisation talks
Lisa Bryan | 10 July, 2018, 08:44

"The issues the US side insisted on during the talks were the same cancerous ones that the past USA administrations had insisted on", the North Korea's foreign ministry said. "If I paid attention to the press, I'd go nuts".

His trip to Pyongyang had been aimed at fleshing out denuclearisation commitments made during last month's historic summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"We expected that the U.S. side would bring itself with a constructive proposal which would help build up trust true to the spirit of the DPRK-U.S. summit meeting and talks", the statement read.

"We did have very serious discussions on very important matters yesterday", Kim said. "The issues the USA side insisted on at the talks are all roots of troubles, which the previous administrations also had insisted on to disrupt the dialogue processes, stoke the distrust and increase the danger of war".

The top USA diplomat continued to describe his conversations with senior North Korean officials as "productive", even as North Korea attacked the US negotiating stance.

But while Pompeo on Saturday painted a positive picture of the follow-up talks, North Korean officials accused the USA of trying to unilaterally pressure their country into abandoning its nuclear programme. Rather than announcing any concrete achievements, the most Pompeo seemed able to deliver on Saturday was the promise of more talks.

He also acknowledged that the road ahead would be hard, but said that North Korea did reaffirm its commitment to denuclearize.

"I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake", the Trump wrote on Twitter. Trump reminded Kim about the agreement signed in Singapore last month.

"People are going to make stray comments after meetings", he said of North Korea's assertion.


It said the North had raised the issue of formally ending the Korean War, which concluded with an armistice and not a peace treaty, but the US came up with a variety of "conditions and excuses" to delay a declaration. "But this expectation and hope of ours were so naive as to be gullible".

"When we spoke to them about denuclearisation, they did not push back", Mr Pompeo told a news conference.

In his first remarks about challenging diplomatic talks held at the weekend that sowed fresh doubts over North Korea's willingness to give up its nuclear arsenal, Trump said China "may be exerting negative pressure" in reaction to punitive USA tariffs on Chinese goods.

"We still cherish our good faith in President Trump".

Pompeo said sanctions would remain in place against North Korea, and be enforced "with great vigor", adding that progress alone does not change the sanctions.

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 USA officials had suggested such a meeting was expected.

Pyongyang's statement came despite Pompeo saying that he had "many hours of productive conversations" with the North, adding that "we made progress on nearly all of the central issues".

The regime's belief that the weapons are needed to deter a United States attack dates back almost 70 years to the still-unresolved Korean War, and will take more than a handshake to dispel. "But this one I don't think turned out well because of the difference that we have in terms of what each side wants to achieve".

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