North Korea is considering suspending talks with the United States and may rethink a freeze on missile and nuclear tests unless Washington makes concessions, a senior diplomat said on Friday, Reuters reported.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States wished to continue talks with North Korea and had “every expectation” that its leader, Kim Jong-un, would stick to pledges not to resume nuclear and missile testing.
Pompeo gave no sign of U.S. willingness to soften its stance in demanding that North Korea give up its nuclear weapons.
North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui blamed top U.S. officials for the breakdown of last month’s summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi, Russia’s TASS news agency and the Associated Press reported.
“We have no intention to yield to the U.S. demands (at the Hanoi summit) in any form, nor are we willing to engage in negotiations of this kind,” TASS quoted Choe as telling reporters in the North Korean capital.
The second Trump-Kim summit broke down over differences about U.S. demands for Pyongyang to denuclearize and North Korea’s demand for dramatic relief from international sanctions imposed for its nuclear and missile tests, which it pursued for years in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions, Reuters added.
Choe said Pompeo and U.S. national security adviser John Bolton “created the atmosphere of hostility and mistrust and, therefore, obstructed the constructive effort for negotiations between the supreme leaders of North Korea and the United States,” TASS reported.
Kim would make an announcement soon on his position on the denuclearization talks and North Korea’s next steps, TASS quoted Choe as saying. She said Washington had thrown away a golden opportunity at the summit and warned that Kim might rethink a moratorium on missile launches and nuclear tests, AP reported.
“I want to make it clear that the gangster-like stand of the U.S. will eventually put the situation in danger,” AP quoted Choe as saying.
However, she added: “Personal relations between the two supreme leaders are still good and the chemistry is mysteriously wonderful.”
Bolton told reporters outside the White House that Choe’s statement was “inaccurate.” He said he had spoken to his South Korean counterpart but wanted to consult with other U.S. officials before responding further, Reuters noted.