Published: Sat, March 16, 2019
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

North Korea threatens to end nuclear talks with USA, resume testing

North Korea threatens to end nuclear talks with USA, resume testing

In a report from the Associated Press, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui, who briefed reporters and diplomats in Pyongyang Friday, said Washington threw away a golden opportunity when Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump failed to reach a deal during their second summit, held in Hanoi in late February.

North Korea intends to break off denuclearisation talks with the US, a senior North Korean diplomat said on Friday in comments carried by Russian state media.

"Kim Jong Un could announce his position on nuclear negotiations with the USA and possibly even how he intends to follow up on his comment in his New Year's speech about "seeking a new path" if the United States continues to exert pressure", said Minyoung Lee, an analyst at NK Pro.

As for the personal criticism, the top USA diplomat said, "they're wrong about that".

Trump told reporters on Wednesday that he had "no update" on North Korea, but said he seemed to "have a very good relationship" with the country's officials.

"It's not the first time", Pompeo said, referring to the name-calling. "I have a vague recollection of being called gangster-like from a visit that I took one time previously". North Korea expert Joshua Pollack said North Korea may be delivering an ultimatum.

Choe, who said Kim was baffled by the United States" "eccentric' negotiation position at the late-February summit, added that North Korea has no plans to compromise or continue talks unless the USA takes steps similar to those Pyongyang has taken, like a moratorium on launches and tests, according to the AP.

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The tone of the North Korean Foreign Ministry, highlighting the lack of progress in the implementation of the denuclearization issue, is in stark contrast to the far more optimistic rhetoric from the USA special representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun.

Joel Wit of think tank 38 North said North Korea was likely toughening its negotiating position after the collapse of the Hanoi summit.

Kim had committed multiple times to Trump in Hanoi that he would not to resume nuclear or missile testing, Pompeo said.

He did, however, offer no specifics on when any new summit might be arranged.

In Washington this week, the U.S. special representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, said that diplomacy was "still very much alive", though he did not say if there had been any negotiations since the summit, or outline any plans for further talks.

The spokeswoman said the ministry had not confirmed why the North Korean officials decided not to attend. "We never asked for the removal of sanctions in their entirety". He referred a couple of times to Kim's verbal pledge to denuclearize, which has not been formalized.

"The missiles, the weapons systems, the entire WMD program - that's the requirement laid out by the United Nations Security Council", Pompeo said Friday.

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But Mr Pompeo said he is "hopeful" that discussions will continue.

The sharp turn in rhetoric reflects the North's comments that were made during the missile crisis of 2017 when Kim ordered the launch of the powerful Hwasong-12 warhead.

"I saw the remarks [Ms Choe] made - she left open the possibility negotiations would continue. I have every expectation that we'll be able to continue to do that".

Kim Yong-hyun said the activity at Sohae may have been a ploy by North Korea to change the bargaining dynamics between Pyongyang and Washington.

He said: "Diplomacy is still very much alive". "I'd like to speak further within the USA government before we respond". This week, a US representative for North Korea said the USA administration would not accept a phased denuclearization, but insisted US and North Korean officials are still closely engaged on the subject. Bolton told reporters outside the White House Choe's statement was "inaccurate". "I've seen the statement you're referring to".

The US says sanctions will remain until Pyongyang destroys all nuclear sites.

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