North Korea Blames Pompeo, Bolton For 'Mistrust' That Foiled Negotiations

Clay Curtis
March 15, 2019

North Korea has said it is considering suspending denuclearization talks with the United States amid an "atmosphere of hostility and mistrust" created by high-ranking usa officials, Russian news agency TASS and The Associated Press reported on Friday.

North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui (center) speaks at an urgent gathering for diplomats in Pyongyang, North Korea on Friday.

Choe had said after the Hanoi talks that Kim might lose his commitment to pursue a deal with the United States after seeing it reject a request to lift some sanctions in return for the North destroying its main known nuclear complex.

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. North Korea expert Joshua Pollack said North Korea may be delivering an ultimatum.

Choe claimed Friday that despite the way things ended in Hanoi, personal relations remain good between Trump and Kim.

In a statement, the South Korean presidential Blue House said, "It is not reliable to judge the current situation only by remarks of Choe Son Hui".

His comments follow a suggestion by North Korean-Vice Foreign Minister Choe Sun-hui that denuclearisation talks might end and testing could resume. Hanoi was supposed to be the part of the same old story where the US accepted a meager offer from North Korea and declared diplomatic victory, only to watch the North Koreans take back everything they "gave away" a few months later and demand fresh concessions to refrain from further provocations.

Read the full Times report here.

"We are not going to do denuclearization incrementally", Biegun said.

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President Moon: Call Chairman Kim.

In Washington this week, USA special representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, said the United States expected to be able to continue its close engagement, though he offered no specifics on when new talks might be held.

Pyongyang may freeze talks with the United States and renew missile and nuclear tests after senior USA officials torpedoed President Trump's talks with Kim Jong-un in Vietnam, a top North Korean diplomat said.

The US had hoped the summit would demonstrate the success of Trump's diplomatic gamble with North Korea, but instead the meeting ended with no joint agreement, after Kim demanded all US sanctions be lifted on his country.

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.

Miller explains those are the sanctions that came after 2016 and have "effectively cut off North Korea, their supplies for coal, copper, crude oil, those are the ones that basically North Korea wanted relief [from]".

Since the meeting in Hanoi, satellite images have shown that North Korea has begun rebuilding a structure at its Tongchang-ri satellite-launching site, according to analysts. "In imagery from March 13, the transfer structure remains in the same position and the environmental cover still conceals the gantry tower".

Seoul's Korea Times newspaper quotes South Korea's Ministry of National Defense expressing "uncertainty" if the activity at the Sohae facility signaled a true intention to carry out a launch. "That's the requirement laid out by the United Nations Security Council", he said. "We need a total solution", he emphasized during a forum in Washington D.C., effectively passing the ball to North Korea.

"As long as there's no testing", said Mr Trump, "I'm in no rush".

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