North Korea Calls Latest US Talks 'Regrettable,' Bashes Demands for Denuclearization

Tension on display as US delegation meets with North Korea for second day

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, center, walks through the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam, Sunday, July 8.

Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, says North Korea could dismantle its nuclear arsenal within a year, but other USA officials have said they hope it can be accomplished by the end of Trump's first term in the White House, in January 2021.

Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol, dictator Kim Jong Un's top adviser and North Korea's former spy chief, exchanged pleasantries before the second meeting between the two countries.

The bombshell threat came just momebnts after Mr Pompeo hailed progress in Pyongyang on setting a timeline to North Korea's denuclearisation.

"Of course, it is important".

Kim later said that "there are things that I have to clarify" to which Pompeo responded that "there are things that I have to clarify as well".

"There will be a verification connected to the complete denuclearization, that's what President Trump and Chairman Kim both agreed to", he said.

Director for Korea policy at the National Security Council (NSC) Allison Hooker and Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Alex Wong were also present.

The conflicting reports come at a tense time for North Korean-U.S. relations.

On Friday, Pompeo held almost three hours of talks with Kim Yong Chol and a working dinner that Nauert described as further "relationship building".




"But the economic sanctions are a different kettle of fish altogether. the world will see continued enforcement actions by the United States in the days and weeks ahead", Pompeo said.

The State Department has pushed back on reports that the U.S.is softening its position with North Korea, the spokesperson telling reporters Friday "nothing could be further from the truth".

Among these issues, she added, will be verifying the North's efforts to achieve denuclearization. "If I paid attention to the press, I'd go nuts and I refuse to do that". Another meeting is scheduled between the US and North Korea on July 12 at the Demilitarized Zone, with the Department of Defense to take the lead on those talks. In June, President Trump falsely claimed that the repatriation was already in the works.

According to the spokesman, during the talks with Pompeo the North raised the issue of a possible declaration to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, which concluded with an armistice and not a peace treaty.

"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.

Our correspondent at South Korea's foreign ministry, Lee Ji-won, is on the line for us.

Abraham Denmark, a senior defense official for East Asia under former President Barack Obama, said: "This is a rejection of USA demands for unilateral denuclearisation by North Korea, and a clear message that the US will need to give up more to make progress".

Speaking as Pompeo arrived in Tokyo, Nauert told reporters that the only thing Pompeo had left in Pyongyang was a letter to the North Korean leader from President Donald Trump. And, he and other USA officials said the two countries, still technically at war after the 1950-53 Korean War, had set up working groups to deal with details of an agreement.

Pompeo and other United States officials are meeting with North Korean officials in Pyongyang to hammer out details on dismantling North Korea's nuclear program.

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