North Korea may suspend nuclear talks with ‘gangster-like’ US: Diplomat

PYONGYANG, March 15 (NNN-AGENCIES) — North Korea is considering suspending talks with the United States and may rethink a ban on missile and nuclear tests unless Washington makes concessions, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui reported as saying by the media.

Choe blamed top US officials for the breakdown of last month’s summit in Hanoi between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“We have no intention to yield to the US demands (at the Hanoi summit) in any form, nor are we willing to engage in negotiations of this kind,” Russia’s TASS news agency quoted Choe as telling reporters in the North Korean capital.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton “created the atmosphere of hostility and mistrust and, therefore, obstructed the constructive effort for negotiations between the supreme leaders of North Korea and the United States”, Tass quoted Choe as saying.

Kim is set to make an official announcement soon on his position regarding the denuclearisation talks with the United States and the North’s further actions, Choe said.

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.

“I want to make it clear that the gangster-like stand of the US will eventually put the situation in danger,” she said, adding: “Personal relations between the two supreme leaders are still good and the chemistry is mysteriously wonderful.”

Choe’s comments echoed the North’s usual rhetoric at tense points in its dealings with Washington.

The second Trump-Kim summit broke down over differences about US demands for Pyongyang to denuclearise and North Korea’s demand for dramatic relief from international sanctions imposed for its nuclear and missile tests, which it pursued for years in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.

Choe had said after the Hanoi talks that Kim might lose his commitment to pursue a deal with the United States after seeing it reject a request to lift some sanctions in return for the North destroying its main known nuclear complex.

In Washington this week, the US 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.

In Beijing, Premier Li Keqiang urged patience and further dialogue between North Korea and the United States.

“The peninsula problem can be said to be complicated and long-standing, and it cannot be solved overnight,” Li told an annual news conference on Friday, although his remarks were not made in response to the TASS report. — NNN-AGENCIES