Mar 15, 2019 08:40 UTC
  • North Korea considering pulling out of talks unless US takes steps

A senior North Korean official says Pyongyang is considering suspending talks on denuclearization with the United States and resuming its nuclear and missile tests unless Washington takes some practical steps.

According to Press TV, the North’s Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said on Friday that Leader Kim Jong-un is set to make an official announcement about his decision soon.

She told foreign diplomats and journalists in the capital Pyongyang that the North was deeply disappointed by the collapse of the talks between Trump and Kim in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi last month. The US president walked away from the talks, claiming that Kim had insisted on the removal of all sanctions.

Choe said Pyongyang’s demand during the summit was for five key economic sanctions to be lifted, not all sanctions.

She said Washington “has thrown away a golden opportunity this time,” in Hanoi. “This time we understood very clearly that the United States has a very different calculation to ours.”

Choe said that on their way back to Pyongyang from Hanoi, Kim has told her that “for what reason do we have to make this train trip again?’”

 “I want to make it clear that the gangster-like stand of the US will eventually put the situation in danger,” She said. “We have neither the intention to compromise with the US in any form nor much less the desire or plan to conduct this kind of negotiation.”

She also explained that Pyongyang now has no intention of compromising or continuing talks unless Washington changes its “political calculation” and takes measures that are commensurate with the steps North Korea has already taken.

The North has taken several steps toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula since last year, when Kim and Trump met in their first ever summit in Singapore and agreed to work toward the goal.

It has already suspended missile and nuclear testing, demolished at least one nuclear test site, and agreed to allow international inspectors into a missile engine test facility.

Subsequent diplomacy between the two sides, however, made little progress, mainly because the US refused to lift its harsh sanctions.

Washington insists that sanctions on the North must remain in place until it completely and irreversibly dismantles its nuclear program.

The North Korean diplomat further criticized Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton for their “uncompromising demands” which she said have hardened Washington’s position.

The two US diplomats have “created the atmosphere of hostility and mistrust and, therefore, obstructed the constructive effort for negotiations between the leaders of North Korea and the United States,” she said.