North Korea says it may suspend nuclear talks

Kim Jong Un attends wreath laying ceremony at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi

Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui blamed top U.S. officials for the breakdown of last month's summit in Hanoi between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Russia's TASS news agency and the Associated Press said.

He said: "We have no intention to yield to USA demands (at the Hanoi summit) in any form, nor are we willing to engage in negotiations of this kind".

North Korea blames Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton for an "atmosphere of hostility and mistrust" that dissolved denuclearization negotiations last month between Kim Jong-un and President Trump, The New York Times reported.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted that North Korea is keeping open the possibility of continued talks after Pyongyang's deputy foreign minister said they might walk from negotiations, criticizing the top USA diplomat and national security adviser John Bolton for creating "an atmosphere of hostility".

Earlier this week, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun said, "Diplomacy is still very much alive".

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said he expects North Korea's leader will live up to his commitment not to resume nuclear and missile tests.

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

Pompeo said that in her remarks, Choe had left open the possibility that negotiations would continue.

It's not the first time either man has been blasted specifically by the North Koreans, who have tried to get Trump and Kim together in the belief that he is more amenable to their position.

Trump, who has said the United States has ended the nuclear threat from North Korea, said Kim had offered to take some steps to dismantle his nuclear arsenal, but hadn't gone far enough. "It's the administration's desire that we continue to have conversations about this".

Choe blasted Washington chiefs, claiming they threw away a "golden" opportunity at its recent summit and added Kim might rethink a moratorium on missile launches and nuclear tests.

Speaking at an urgent meeting with diplomats and foreign media in Pyongyang, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui cited the US attitude in the recent Hanoi summit. "They wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety and we couldn't do that", Mr Trump told reporters.

John Delury, an expert on East Asia at Seoul's Yonsei University, said Choe's comments could be seen as a response to Bolton's threat to ramp up sanctions and did not mean the door to dialogue was closed.

In addition, Moon said, "The role of South Korea in this situation, or the role of President Moon [Jae-in] is not a mediator but facilitator, because a mediator should be an interest-free party, but South Korea is also involved in this problem".

Trump has pointed to North Korea's freeze in nuclear and missile testing since 2017 as a positive outcome from almost a year of diplomatic engagement with North Korea.

Choe's comments echoed the North's usual rhetoric at tense points in its dealings with Washington.

The Asian Forum Japan's Senior Fellow, Jonathan Berkshire Miller, said that following the "humiliating" summit in Hanoi, Kim used his address to reiterate to the global community that North Korea wasn't looking to have all sanctions dating back to 2009 removed, but the sanctions that have been the most impactful.

After the two leaders failed to secure a deal in Hanoi, and with economic sanctions still in place, North Korea might be trying to hurry the United States president along and get him back to the table with a better deal.

The spokeswoman said the ministry had not confirmed why the North Korean officials decided not to attend. "It is likely to gauge the US reaction in the days ahead before making a decision to launch a rocket", he said. Following the meeting, Trump said the North had demanded full sanctions relief in return for dismantling a limited portion of its nuclear weapons program.

Bolton said Friday he has spoken with his South Korean counterpart about the North Korea allegations.



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