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North Korea Accuses ‘Gangster-Like’ John Bolton of Sabotaging Denuclearization Talks

16 March, 2019, 03:21 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • Pyongyang set to break off denuclearization talks with Washington — diplomat

Choe, who attended the February 27-28 talks in Hanoi, said Kim was puzzled by what she called the "eccentric" negotiation position of the U.S.

Choe said Washington threw away a golden opportunity at the summit and warned that Kim might rethink a moratorium on missile launches and nuclear tests, the AP said.

She refused to comment when asked if recent activity at North Korea's launch sites indicates a new missile test or "satellite launch" - i.e. a disguised missile test - might occur soon.

Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui told diplomats and foreign correspondents that the talks between the two nations last month broke down when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton created an "atmosphere of hostility and mistrust".

"President Trump has said for some time that he was open to talks and he would willingly meet with Kim when conditions were right".

Hyon Song Wol, head of the North Korean Samjiyon art troupe takes a photo of Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choe Son-Hui (C) ahead of the welcoming ceremony of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (not pictured) at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam March 1, 2019.

"At this time, they (North Korea) are willing to reform and become more open, which requires sanctions being lifted, but they also need to show their willingness to denuclearize and are urging the USA president to take action", he said.

Like other North Korean diplomatic representatives before her, Choe blasted the USA for insisting on complete denuclearization before sanctions relief is granted. After the summit had ended, State Department officials clarified that was indeed the North's position, but said the lifting of economic sanctions was such a big demand that it would essentially subsidize the North's continued nuclear activity.

The second Trump-Kim summit broke down over differences about USA demands for Pyongyang to denuclearize and North Korea's demand for dramatic relief from worldwide sanctions imposed for its nuclear and missile tests, which it pursued for years in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

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But Mr Pompeo said he is "hopeful" that discussions will continue.

Bolton told reporters that Choe's description of the negotiation break down was inaccurate and that he had been in contact with officials in South Korea. "As the president said when he was in Hanoi, the offer that they made simply didn't rise to the level that was acceptable, given what they were asking for in exchange".

North Korea says Pyongyang has no intention of giving in to Washington's demands and Kim Jong Un would be making a statement soon on the possibility of further talks. "I have every expectation that we'll be able to continue to do that". Bolton said in any case Trump "is our decision-maker". Hanoi was supposed to be the part of the same old story where the US accepted a meager offer from North Korea and declared diplomatic victory, only to watch the North Koreans take back everything they "gave away" a few months later and demand fresh concessions to refrain from further provocations.

"That's Chairman Kim's word", Mr Pompeo said.

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

The North Koreans slapped Pompeo with that epithet after talks in July, accusing him of pursuing "a unilateral and gangster-like demand for denucearization" after talks the top U.S. diplomat had called "productive".

In addition, Moon said, "The role of South Korea in this situation, or the role of President Moon [Jae-in] is not a mediator but facilitator, because a mediator should be an interest-free party, but South Korea is also involved in this problem".

She accused the U.S. of taking a "gangster-like" stance, according to the Associated Press, but added that "personal relations between the two supreme leaders are still good and the chemistry is mysteriously wonderful".

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