Trump Confident North Korea Will 'Honor the Contract' to Denuclearize

Erika Holt
July 10, 2018

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters that U.S. and North Korean officials had set up working groups to deal with "nitty gritty stuff", including verification of efforts to achieve denuclearization, which would be headed on the U.S. side by Sung Kim, a Korean-American who is also ambassador to the Philippines. The two sides also failed to make concrete progress on the return of the remains of USA soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War and the demolition of the North's missile launch site in Tongchang-ri.

According to the spokesman, during the talks with Pompeo, North Korea raised the issue of a possible declaration to formally end the 1950-53 Korean war, which concluded with an armistice and not a peace treaty. The accusation came after Pompeo visited Pyongyang and declared that the talks were productive.

Despite the NBC report and North Korea's statement, Pompeo still claimed the rogue nation is committed to dismantling its nuclear program.

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

China and North Korea have been discussing a Xi visit since March.

Saturday saw Nauert say discussions had also involved the issue of the repatriation of US service members who died during the Korean War. "If it's not true, then we go back to the other way, but I don't think that's going to be necessary".

"Our policy hasn't changed, ' she said when asked why US officials appear in public comments to have backed away from early demands that an agreement must cover "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization'".

Trump also expressed doubts about Beijing's attitude toward the negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang, suggesting that China could play a counterproductive role due the trade war that has seen the world's two largest economies slap tariffs on each other's goods. He later said there was progress in talks, including on setting a timeline for denuclearization, but also acknowledged much work remained to be done.

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North Korea's official KCNA news agency said Pompeo's delegation was taking part in high-level talks for implementing the Singapore summit statement, but gave no more details.

"I was there for the event", Pompeo said Sunday.

Pompeo paid a visit to the DPRK from Thursday to Saturday, weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump met with DPRK's top leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12.

Meanwhile, North Korea lashed out at the United States shortly after Pompeo left, saying the top U.S. diplomat presented a "unilateral and gangster-like" demand for "complete, verifiable and irreversible" denuclearization, a longstanding USA goal.

Following the high-profile summit between the US and North Korea, in which Trump and Kim took part in an historic meeting, President Trump appeared optimistic about the future of relations between the nations and spoke warmly of the talks between himself and Kim. "But expectation and hope of ours were so naive as to be foolish", read the statement.

That change raised suspicion that the U.S. was softening its demands for the country, an argument that State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert had insisted on Friday wasn't true.

The criticism, published on North Korea's government-run Uriminzokkiri website, said Washington should stop provoking the North with an "anachronistic human rights racket' at a time of diplomatic attempts to improve ties".

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