North Korea lashes 'extremely regrettable' U.S. stance after Pompeo talks

08 July, 2018, 02:41 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Foreign Affairs Dems request North Korea hearing

U.S. and North Korean officials have set up working groups to deal with "nitty gritty stuff" including verification of efforts to achieve denuclearisation, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman said on Saturday, the second day of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to Pyongyang.

It is not yet clear whether Pompeo will meet with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un before departing Pyongyang for Tokyo where he is expected to brief his Japanese and South Korean counterparts.

Last month, at a historic summit with US President Donald Trump, Kim Jong-un agreed to "work towards complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" in return for security guarantees and an end to a unsafe stand-off with US forces.

Trust between the two sides was now at a "dangerous stage" that could lead the country to falter in its commitment to give up nuclear weapons, KCNA said - adding that North Korea still trusts President Donald Trump.

But Pyongyang said Saturday of its meetings with Pompeo, "We expected the usa side to come up with constructive measures to help build trust in the spirit of reunion.

However, the attitude of the U.S. was indeed regrettable", said a statement released by the Korean Central News Agency, citing an unnamed North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman.

'Our expectations and hopes were so naive it could be called foolish'.

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In practical terms, however, he only mentioned that officials from both sides would meet on July 12 as a working group to discuss the repatriation of the remains of some US soldiers killed during the 1950-1953 Korean War.

North Korea had hoped to pursue a "balanced implementation" of the goals agreed to in the Kim-Trump joint statement, but the USA put forward a "unilateral and strong denuclearization request" without referring to North Korea's goal of establishing a "peace guarantee" on the Korean Peninsula, the statement said.

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 US officials had suggested such a meeting was expected.

The top USA diplomat has said that Kim had repeatedly expressed in private conversations his desire to give up nuclear weapons for good.

Talks with North Korea, the main reason why the Trump administration ditched a high-level dialogue with India on July 6 doesn't seem to have panned out very well for Washington.

Despite the obstacles, Pompeo said on Saturday that progress had been made in the talks."These are complicated issues but we made progress on nearly all of the central issues", Mr. Pompeo said before departing on Saturday.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is pictured returning to a meeting with North Korea's Kim Yong Chol (not pictured).

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Both men said they needed to "clarify" certain elements of their previous discussions, but provided no detail. "So thinking about those discussions you might have not slept well last night".

"We consider this very important too since it is the first senior level face-to-face meeting since the summit between our two leaders", said Secretary Pompeo in response.

Pompeo, who spoke with Trump, national security adviser John Bolton and White House chief of staff John Kelly by secure phone before starting Saturday's session, replied that he "slept just fine".

Kim said he heard Pompeo was "quite pleased" with the two sides' first meeting, but dropped a warning that "there are things that I have to clarify".

Professor Yang Moo-Jin at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul said Pyongyang wants to separate "US bureaucrats from President Trump, expressing trust in him".

A key aim of Mr Pompeo's two days of talks was to firm up North Korea's commitment to denuclearisation.

Pompeo and Kim met for almost three hours Friday and then had dinner amid growing skepticism over how serious Kim Jong Un is about giving up his nuclear arsenal and translating the upbeat rhetoric following his June 12 summit with Trump into concrete action. Nauert didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about North Korea's latest statement.

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