Pyongyang refuses to show up at war remains talks

Erika Holt
July 13, 2018

US President Donald Trump said he received a note from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in which Mr Kim said he believed their efforts to improve relations will succeed.

Mr Pompeo had said progress was made during his two-day visit to Pyongyang.

"The significant first meeting with Your Excellency and the joint statement that we signed together in Singapore 24 days ago was indeed the start of a meaningful journey", Kim wrote in the July 6 letter Trump posted on Twitter alongside an English translation Thursday.

The North Koreans failed to show up to a scheduled meeting Thursday during which they were slated to discuss the repatriation of American soldiers' remains with U.S. officials.

Roh Kyu-deok, a spokesman for South Korea's Foreign Ministry, said the South Korean government is "constantly in contact with the USA counterpart" about progress of the talks on war remains repatriation, but declined to comment on any details, saying that all inquiries on the issue be directed to the US authorities.

"North Korea not showing up could be an expression of dissatisfaction toward the US for making excessive demands in the high-level talks last week", Kyungnam University professor Kim Dong-yub said".

Several days previously, Pyongyang had slated the USA for seeking unilateral and forced denuclearization from North Korea.

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The fact that Kim Jong Un's letter says Trump took "energetic and extraordinary" efforts, it's most telling that Un admits only to taking "future process of taking practical actions", but says nothing of what was achieved during the Trump-Kim Summit. Pyongyang has asked the UN Command Armistice Commission to upgrade the talks to a higher level to include a USA general, South Korea's foreign ministry said.

North Korea said Saturday it was seeking the "earliest start of the working-level talks" on the recovery of USA remains.

Ms Nauert said North Korea's vice chairman Kim Yong Chol had agreed to meet on or about 12 July in Panmunjom with an American delegation, but the meeting did not materialise.

Sanctions imposed by the United Nations in December placed a cap on refined oil exports to North Korea at 500,000 barrels annually. The president rattled US allies by demanding that the other NATO nations pay more toward their own defense, although he stopped short of threatening to pull the United States out of the trans-Atlantic alliance.

Trump was in London to meet with United Kingdom leaders after leaving the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels, Belgium, when he tweeted Kim's letter.

The translated letter began, "Your Excellency Mr. President".

Joint U.S. -North Korean military search teams recovered 229 sets of American remains from North Korea between 1996 and 2005.

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