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North Korea may break off US talks: Top official

March 15
12:08 2019

Pyongyang, March 15 : North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may break off denuclearisation talks with the US and resume missile and nuclear testing, a senior official here said on Friday.

Vice Foreign Minister Choe Sun-hui told foreign diplomats here that Washington threw away “a golden opportunity” at the Vietnam summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim, the BBC reported.

Choe accused the US of taking a “gangster-like” stance at the February summit which was held to discuss the regime’s denuclearisation process. Trump and Kim first met in Singapore last year.

North Korea had earlier offered to dismantle its main Yongbyon nuclear complex. But talks collapsed after Trump refused to lift sanctions unless Pyongyang destroyed all its nuclear sites.

“We have no intention to yield to the US demands in any form, nor are we willing to engage in negotiations of this kind,” she told reporters in North Korea, according to Russian state Tass news agency.

Choe said that North Korea’s demand during the summit was for five key economic sanctions to be lifted, not all sanctions, as Trump said after talks broke down.

“What is clear is that the US has thrown away a golden opportunity this time. I’m not sure why the US came out with this different description. We never asked for the removal of sanctions in their entirety.”

Choe said that Kim will make an official announcement on his position regarding future talks with the US soon.

Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated after talks in February that North Korean officials had asked for full sanctions relief.

“It was all about the sanctions. They wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety and we couldn’t do that,” Trump said that time. “Sometimes you have to walk and this was one of those times.”

In Washington this week, the US special representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, said that diplomacy was “still very much alive”, though he did not say if there had been any negotiations since the summit or outlined any plans for further talks.

At a news conference after the Hanoi summit, Trump said no plans had been made for a third summit, but he expressed optimism about a “good outcome” in the future.

IANS

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