North Korea lashes out at U.S., calls talks 'extremely regrettable'

Clay Curtis
July 9, 2018

The diplomatic disconnect makes it clear that the nations are not on the same page.

At the same time the USA state department was forced to deny reports Mr Pompeo gave Kim Jong Un a CD of Elton John's Rocket Man - a playful reference to Donald Trump's nickname for the North Korean leader.

Pompeo said he was willing to grant some concessions to North Korea during the country's denuclearization process in pursuit of further improving relations between the two countries, but added economic sanctions are " a different kettle of fish altogether".

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.

Today, Japan's Mr Kono thanked Mr Pompeo and said the three allies had reaffirmed a commitment to keeping sanctions on North Korea until it abandoned nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles of all ranges.

Pompeo, however, said more talks were needed on both.

Pompeo spoke after North Korea said the talks "brought us in a risky situation where we may be shaken in our unshakable will for denuclearisation, rather than consolidating trust".

While Mr Pompeo on Saturday touted "progress on nearly all of the central issues", the North's Foreign Ministry hours later slammed the U.S. for its "deeply regrettable" attitude in making "unilateral and gangster-like" demands. "If they're able to do this, they will be remembered and Chairman Kim will be remembered as a hero of the Korean people".

"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.

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Many Conservatives were outraged by this plan for a "soft Brexit", saying it would keep the country tied to the European Union . But it became the silence of others such as David Davis, which hinted at the uneasiness of the truce which had been agreed.

How did the North see the latest talks?

The North Korean leader says he is committed to denuclearisation, but how this will be achieved is unclear.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Pyongyang at the weekend to try to flesh out the process, only for the North to warn that it was being jeopardised by overbearing "gangster-like" U.S. demands.

After the historic U.S. State department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said no meeting with Kim had been planned.

So, if I were President Trump, I would not let China use North Korea to back me off of the trade dispute.

According to the spokesman, the North raised the issue of a possible declaration to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, which concluded with an armistice and not a peace treaty, but the United States came up with a variety of "conditions and excuses" to delay a declaration.

But in a harsh response issued just hours after Pompeo arrived in Tokyo, the North blasted the discussions, saying the visit had been "regrettable" and that Washington's "gangster-like" demands were aimed at forcing it to abandon nuclear weapons. The trip was Pompeo's third to Pyongyang since April and his first since the summit. "I am determined to achieve the commitment that President Trump made, and I'm counting on chairman Kim to be determined to follow through on the commitment that he made", Pompeo said. Some analysts think North Korea is trying to drag out talks in hopes that the US will come around to accepting it as a nuclear weapons state, perhaps in a limited form that couldn't threaten the USA mainland directly. He had said progress was made during the talks.

While insisting again that the talks were moving forwards, he stressed that nothing had happened to merit a relaxation of the tough sanctions imposed on the North over its nuclear missile programme.

Indeed, the wording of North Korea's statement may also suggest that it viewed the four items in the Trump-Kim agreement as a schedule.

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