North Korea expresses regret at outcomes of two-day DPRK-US talks

Erika Holt
July 8, 2018

The statement came shortly after Pompeo said he had made progress "on nearly all of the central issues" in the talks, including on setting a timeline for its denuclearisation, though more work remained to be done. "I expect that the DPRK is ready to do the same", Pompeo said, using the initials for North Korea's official name. But he stressed that "there's still more work to be done" in other areas, much of which would be done by working groups that the two sides have set up to deal with specific issues.

The North's official KCNA news agency said the result of talks with the delegation headed by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was "extremely troubling", accusing it of insisting on complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation.

They accused Washington of trying to unilaterally pressure the country into abandoning its nuclear weapons, and said the outcome was "concerning" as it has led to a 'dangerous phase that might rattle our willingness for denuclearization that had been firm'.

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".

The statement, issued by an unnamed foreign ministry spokesman and carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, came hours after a second day of talks between Pompeo and senior North Korean officials that both sides said needed clarity on the parameters of an agreement to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

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 USA soldiers killed during the 1950-1953 Korean War.

There had been previous signs that all was not well on the diplomatic front during Pompeo's trip, which marked the most most significant engagement between the countries since the Trump-Kim summit on June 12 in Singapore.

"Director Kim I slept just fine", Secretary Pompeo said. "(It) will take place at the border and that process will begin to develop over the days that follow", he said as he boarded his plane for Tokyo.

And he said some progress had been made towards agreeing "the modalities" of North Korea's destruction of a missile facility.

North Korea expressed regret Saturday over the attitude of US negotiators during their talks this week to work out details on how to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula as agreed to by their leaders in their recent summit meeting.

"Trump tried to sell this as a quickly achievable deal to denuclearise and now Pompeo and team are tasked with the impossible task of pushing forward on denuclearisation without a shared understanding with Pyongyang", said Stephen Nagy, a senior associate professor at the International Christian University in Tokyo.

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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 countries also agreed to create working groups that will be overseen by Sung Kim, the USA ambassador to the Philippines who's handled some lower-level discussions, to work out what State Department spokeswoman called the "nitty gritty details" of future talks.

Pompeo landed in Pyongyang for high-level talks with Kim Yong-chol, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party Central Committee, on Friday.

Kim Yong-chol joked that Mr Pompeo may not have slept well during his overnight stay at a guesthouse in Pyongyang.

"But we did have very serious discussion on very important matters yesterday", said Kim via an interpreter.

Pompeo left the negotiations venue to make a secure phone call to update President Donald Trump on the talks, the report said.

"Chairman Kim is. still committed" to that goal, Pompeo said, and he reiterated that Trump was "committed to a brighter future for North Korea".

"Particularly, they have suggested that they are disappointed by the U.S. insistence on focusing on the denuclearisation plans over what they described as big-picture issues", she said.

Pompeo has the crucial task of dispelling growing skepticism over how seriously Kim is about giving up his nuclear arsenal and translate the upbeat rhetoric following the first meeting between leaders of the US and North Korea into concrete action.

The North's statement said officials had presented Pompeo with a personal letter to Trump to convey hopes that the "magnificent relations and feelings of trust" between the two leaders would be reinforced in further talks.

A state department spokesperson said Mr Pompeo had been "very firm" in focusing on denuclearisation, as well as on security assurances and another important U.S. demand - the return of remains of USA service personnel from the Korean War. North Korea committed at last month's summit to the "immediate repatriation" of remains already identified, but that hasn't happened yet.

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