Saturday, 23 March, 2019

North Korea rethinking nuclear talks, missile ban

Yevgeny Agoshkov  TASS Yevgeny Agoshkov TASS
Leonard Rios | 16 March, 2019, 03:25

The U.S. has said since then that it will only accept its definition of "complete denuclearization" - the total dismantlement of North Korea's weapons of mass destruction program.

She added leader Kim Jong-un will soon decide whether to stay on the dialogue track and refrain from carrying out missile launches and nuclear tests.

"Personal relations between the two supreme leaders are still good, and the chemistry is mysteriously wonderful", she said, while accusing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton of creating an atmosphere of "hostility and mistrust".

"President Trump has said for some time that he was open to talks and he would willingly meet with Kim when conditions were right".

Kim would soon make an official statement on the actions his country would take, Choe told reporters and foreign diplomats in Pyongyang.

North Korea expert Joshua Pollack, a senior research associate at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies at Monterey, said NorthKorea may be delivering an ultimatum.

Like other North Korean diplomatic representatives before her, Choe blasted the USA for insisting on complete denuclearization before sanctions relief is granted.

Choe said Kim now has reservations about continuing negotiations with Trump after the summit failure in Hanoi.

The second Trump-Kim summit broke down over differences about USA demands for Pyongyang to denuclearize and North Korea's demand for dramatic relief from worldwide sanctions imposed for its nuclear and missile tests, which it pursued for years in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions. "It's the administration's desire that we continue to have conversations about this".

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Kim Joon-hyung, a political scientist at Handong Global University in Pohang, South Korea, tells NPR that Choe's remarks on Friday appear to be a bargaining tactic.

"And I think in the president's judgment that time has arrived now", he said. "We'll see what happens with North Korea, the same way we're going to see what happens in the negotiations with China".

While both said that categorization was "inaccurate" or "wrong", there has been little contact between the two sides since the Hanoi summit ended without a deal, and each country said their offer would not change.

Kim had committed multiple times to Trump in Hanoi that he would not to resume nuclear or missile testing, Pompeo said. "It is likely to gauge the US reaction in the days ahead before making a decision to launch a rocket", he said. "That's Chairman Kim's word, I have every expectation he'll live up to that". "I'd like to speak further within the USA government before we respond".

Mr Trump and Mr Pompeo clearly stated after last month's talks that North Korean officials had asked for full sanctions relief. "In any situation, our government will endeavour for the restart of North Korea-U.S. negotiations", South Korea's presidential Blue House said in a statement.

North Korea claimed it had only requested a partial lifting of the sanctions.

Miller also characterized the developments at Sohae as a way for North Korea to place additional pressure on Washington leading up to the summit to signal that the talks are a "fragile process", but that approach didn't yield the results Pyongyang had hoped for.

Choe blamed the breakdown of talks on the US side, saying the American delegation was being too demanding and inflexible: [The US] "were too busy with pursuing their own political interests and had no honest intention to achieve a result", Choe added, according to Russian state news agency TASS.

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