Bolton disputes NK claim he created mistrust at Kim summit
Mar 16 2019
Secretary of State Mike Pompeoinsisted 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".
"What is clear is that the USA has thrown away a golden opportunity this time".
The second Trump-Kim summit broke down over differences about U.S. demands for Pyongyang to denuclearise and the North's request for sanctions relief.
Choe questioned the claim by Trump at a news conference after the talks in Hanoi broke down that the North was seeking the lifting of all sanctions against it, and said it was seeking only the ones that are directed at its civilian economy. She said the "gangster-like stand of the US will eventually put the situation in danger". "We need a total solution", he emphasized during a forum in Washington D.C., effectively passing the ball to North Korea. "It is likely to gauge the USA reaction in the days ahead before making a decision to launch a rocket", he said.
South Korea's presidential office, Cheong Wa Dae, responded cautiously to the reports of Choe's comments.
North Korea is considering suspending talks with the United States and may rethink a ban on missile and nuclear tests unless Washington makes concessions, news reports from the North's capital on Friday quoted a senior diplomat as saying. North Korea has always been good at throwing brushback pitches, spiking up hostile statements while looking for diplomatic openings.
Mr Pompeo said Kim Jong-un had promised US President Donald Trump in Vietnam that testing would not resume.
Bolton said her description of the current state of diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang was "inaccurate", while Pompeo said he has a "vague recollection of being called gangster-like" by North Korean officials before, a jocular reference to North Korea hurling the exact same epithet at him in July for the same reason.
"That's Chairman Kim's word", Mr Pompeo said.
North Korea leader Kim Jong Un is set to make an official announcement soon on his position regarding talks with United States, TASS reported, citing Choe. Talks between Mr Trump and Kim - the second time the two leaders have met - collapsed as a result the latter's demands over global sanctions imposed in response to nuclear weapons programme, which it pursued for years in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.
After the Singapore summit last June, Pompeo held the first meetings with North Korea, meeting his counterpart Kim Yong Chol in Pyongyang that July.
Pompeo and Bolton both offered swift, and not terribly concerned, responses to Choe's remarks. "The government will put every effort to resume the North Korean - U.S. talks".
Between Feb. 16 and March 2, the Washington-based 38 North, a North Korea project of the Henry L. Stimson Center, detected structures on the launch pad at the Tongchang-ri launch site, also known as Sohae, had been rebuilt, although now it appeared activity had ceased. USA officials explained that decommissioning Yongbyon would not do enough to irreversibly end North Korea's nuclear missile program, while the concessions North Korea demanded would effectively unravel the sanctions regime.
North Korea expert Joshua Pollack, a senior research associate at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies at Monterey, said NorthKorea may be delivering an ultimatum.
"As long as there's no testing", said Mr Trump, "I'm in no rush".