North Korea accuses U.S. of making unilateral demands for denuclearization

Last Updated Jul 7, 2018 9:53 AM EDT

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea’s Foreign Ministry called talks with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “regrettable” after his visit this week to Pyongyang and accused the U.S. of making unilateral demands for denuclearization. The statement by an unnamed North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman on Saturday came hours after Pompeo concluded two days of talks with North Korean officials led by Kim Yong Chol. Pompeo left North Korea without meeting directly with leader Kim Jong Un, as he has during previous visits.

The statement said the U.S. betrayed the spirit of last month’s summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un by making unilateral demands on “CVID,” or the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea. It called the outcome of the follow-up talks “very concerning” because it has led to a “dangerous phase that might rattle our willingness for denuclearization that had been firm.”

“We had expected that the U.S. side would offer constructive measures that would help build trust based on the spirit of the leaders’ summit … we were also thinking about providing reciprocal measures,” an unnamed spokesman of Pyongyang’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.

“However, the attitude and stance the United States showed in the first high-level meeting (between the countries) was no doubt regrettable,” the spokesman said.

The lack of a meeting with Kim, and North Korea’s description of the talks, raise concerns about the future of denuclearization. After the Singapore summit, Mr. Trump said North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat. 

But Pompeo on Saturday did not directly answer some questions from reporters about how that process is going, after NBC News reported that North Korea is expanding some nuclear test sites. When a reporter asked Pompeo if he brought up satellite images seeming to suggest some nuclear facilities are expanding, the Secretary of State said North Korea and the U.S. are “equally committed” to denuclearization. 

“We’ll, your characterization is interesting. ‎We talked about what the North Koreans are continuing to do and how it’s the case we can get our arms around achieving what Chairman Kim and President Trump both agreed to, which was the complete denuclearization of North Korea,” Pompeo told reporters. “There’s no — no one walked away from that, they’re still equally committed, Chairman Kim is still committed. I had a chance to speak to President Trump this morning, I know my counterpart spoke with Chairman Kim during the course of our negotiations as well. We had productive, good-faith negotiations.” 

Pompeo said “progress” made in Pyongyang, although he did not offer a timeline for denuclearization. 

“I’m not going to get into the details of our conversations but we spent a good deal of our time talking about each of those two things and I think we made progress in every element of our discussion,” Pompeo told reporters.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol, a North Korean senior ruling party official and former intelligence chief, return to discussions after a break at Park Hwa Guest House in Pyongyang, North Korea, July 7, 2018.

POOL/REUTERS

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