North Korea Threatens To Scrap Denuclearization Talks

Yevgeny Agoshkov  TASS

Many experts see signs of a hardening of the USA stance post-Hanoi, with Bolton taking a leading role in the media ruling out any sanctions relief until North Korea fully denuclearizes and even threatening to ramp up sanctions.

Ms Choe said in Pyongyang that Mr Kim would decide whether to stick to the launch and test moratorium, and she expects him to "clarify his position" soon.

The North´s warning came amid concerns over its satellite rocket launch site, where some rebuilding activity has been observed in recent weeks, triggering worldwide alarm that Pyongyang might be preparing a long-range missile or space launch.

United States national security adviser John Bolton, who has argued for a tough approach to the North, said last week that Trump was open to more talks but warned of tougher sanctions if Kim did not denuclearise.

The summit ended abruptly without a joint agreement after Kim insisted that all United States sanctions on his country be lifted.

Ms Choe said that North Korea's demand during the recent summit was for five key economic sanctions to be lifted, not all sanctions, as Mr Trump said after talks broke down. -North Korea negotiations over the nuclear issue, following the surprise no-deal conclusion of last month's summit in Hanoi.

President Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Feb. 27, 2019, in Hanoi, Vietnam.

At the summit on February 27 and 28, North Korea asked for relief from five major United Nations sanctions and offered to dismantle a major nuclear weapons research site at Yongbyon, but the Trump administration insisted that North Korea surrender its entire nuclear program in exchange for economic benefits.

"It's the administration's desire that we continue to have conversations around this", Pompeo said.

Bolton said Friday he has spoken with his South Korean counterpart about the North Korea allegations.

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"I saw the remark that she made", Pompeo said. And following that, we continued to have very professional conversations, where we tried our best to work together and represent our respective sides.

While both said that categorization was "inaccurate" or "wrong", there has been little contact between the two sides since the Hanoi summit ended without a deal, and each country said their offer would not change.

Bolton, who has argued for a tough approach to North Korea, said last week that Trump was open to more talks but also warned of tougher sanctions if the North did not denuclearize. "It is likely to gauge the USA reaction in the days ahead before making a decision to launch a rocket", he said.

"That's Chairman Kim's word", Mr Pompeo said. "The government will put every effort to resume the North Korean - U.S. talks".

"For example, North Korea convened a party meeting two days before the parliamentary session in April 2018 where he delivered a "report" on Korean peninsula affairs".

It was not immediately clear if the veteran diplomat was just trying to put pressure on Washington or whether North Korea is seriously considering abandoning denuclearization talks.

"What is clear is that the USA has thrown away a golden opportunity this time", she said. "We need a total solution", he emphasized during a forum in Washington D.C., effectively passing the ball to North Korea.

Joel Wit of the 38 North think tank said North Korea was likely toughening its negotiating position after the collapse of the Hanoi summit.

At the State Department on Monday, Pompeo said that the North Korean offer in Hanoi "simply didn't rise to the level that was acceptable given what they were asking for in exchange".

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