A North Korean official says the U.S. missed a golden opportunity at the recent summit in Vietnam, and that Kim Jong-un will soon decide whether to pull out of nuclear negotiations with Washington, NPR informs.
Meanwhile, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Monday he hopes North Korea responds positively when he meets President Donald Trump this month as part of efforts to restart denuclearization talks with the North.
Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un failed to make any agreement at their summit in Hanoi in February, leaving Moon with little room to maneuver and exacerbating divisions within his government over how to break the impasse, Reuters writes.
Speaking to his cabinet, Moon said he would use the April 11 summit in Washington to discuss restarting U.S.-North Korea talks, advancing a peace process and creating a “virtuous cycle” of improving relations with Pyongyang.
“I hope North Korea will respond positively to the efforts of Seoul and Washington,” he said.
The summit in Vietnam’s capital was cut short after Trump and Kim failed to reach a deal on the extent of economic sanctions relief for North Korea in exchange for its steps to give up its nuclear program.
Though there have been no signs of any return to U.S.-North Korea talks, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “I would hope in the coming months our two leaders will be back together … in a way that we can achieve a substantive first step or a substantive big step along the path to denuclearization.”
Pompeo added, however, that it is “hard to know what the timing will be,” according to a newly released State Department transcript of an interview on Friday with Pennsylvania radio station WHP when asked how long the process would take.
There was criticism in Washington that Seoul might have over-sold Kim’s denuclearization commitment and gone too far in pushing for sanctions relief, while Moon’s advisers have said the United States cannot stick to an “all or nothing” approach when trying to strike a deal over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
However, Moon said the allies are “very much on the same page when it comes to our shared objective of achieving complete denuclearization and establishing a permanent peace regime on the Korean peninsula.”
The South Korean criticized unnamed skeptics who he said had tried to “drive a wedge” between Seoul and Washington and “reverse the tide of peace.”
“This is in no way helpful to our national interest or the future of the Korean peninsula,” Moon said. “Such attempts can be labeled truly irresponsible, especially when we recall the state of crisis we endured before dialogue was launched.”
The failure of the Hanoi summit created “temporary difficulties” but “it is becoming clear that neither the two Koreas nor the United States wants to go back to the past,” he pointed out.