North Korea considering suspending nuclear talks with US

Evarado Alatorre
Marcha 15, 2019

FILE PHOTO: Residents hold US and North Korean flags while they wait for motorcade of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un en route to the Metropole Hotel for the second US- North Korea summit in Hanoi, Vietnam February 28, 2019.

Pyongyang announced it was considering suspending nuclear talks with the United States and would reconsider its ban on weapons testing, according to the North's Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui.

The North Korean delegation came to Hanoi with a realistic proposal of the USA lifting some economic sanctions as a gesture of recognition of Pyongyang's 15-month moratorium on nuclear and ballistic missile tests, Choe told diplomats and journalists.

North Korea is considering ending talks with the USA, a senior North Korean diplomat said Friday.

Pyongyang may freeze talks with the United States and renew missile and nuclear tests after senior USA officials torpedoed President Trump's talks with Kim Jong-un in Vietnam, a top North Korean diplomat said. She said statements by senior Trump advisers since the summit have further worsened the climate. But she added: "Personal relations between the two supreme leaders are still good and the chemistry is mysteriously wonderful".

She said it was entirely up to Kim whether to continue the launch and test moratorium, and said she expects he will "clarify his position" within a short period of time. "'For what reason do we have to make this train trip again?'" she said.

'I want to make it clear that the gangster-like stand of the US will eventually put the situation in danger.

"We have no intention of compromising in any form to the demands of the US", Choe was quoted as saying in foreign media reports.

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Choe criticized Trump for claiming at a news conference after the talks fell through that Pyongyang wanted all sanctions to be lifted - a claim that the US State Department later admitted was not accurate.

South Korea, which has an ambitious agenda of engagement with North Korea that is dependent on Pyongyang and Washington resolving at least some of their differences, said it was too early to tell what Choe's comments might mean.

In response, Seoul's presidential office said that the South Korean government will continue the efforts to faciliate dialogue between U.S. and North Korea under any circumstances.

She said even though the people, military and officials of the munitions industry have sent Kim thousands of petitions to never give up the nuclear program, he went to Hanoi to build trust and carry out mutually agreed commitments "one by try and step by step".

In Washington this week, the USA special representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, said the United States expected to be able to continue its close engagement, though he offered no specifics on when new talks might be held.

'Whether to maintain this moratorium or not is the decision of our chairman of the state affairs commission, ' she said, using one of Kim's titles.

Talmadge is the AP's Pyongyang bureau chief.

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