Published: Sat, March 16, 2019
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Pompeo presses Kim Jong-un to keep his word on nuclear tests

Pompeo presses Kim Jong-un to keep his word on nuclear tests

"In any situation, our government will endeavor for the restart of North Korea-U.S. negotiations", South Korea's presidential Blue House said in a statement.

Kim is expected to make his decision on the matter "in a short period of time", she said.

Her remarks come as both countries have refused to budge from the diplomatic positions that set them at odds in Hanoi, and as satellite images show that North Korea has rebuilt a satellite launch facility and resumed activity at a site used to assemble intercontinental ballistic missiles and satellite-launching rockets.

She blamed the US for the stalemate at the Trump-Kim summit in February, saying Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton "created the atmosphere of hostility and mistrust", TASS reports.

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

Choe questioned the claim by Trump at a news conference after the talks in Hanoi broke down that the North was seeking the lifting of all sanctions against it, and said it was seeking only the ones that are directed at its civilian economy.

Like other North Korean diplomatic representatives before her, Choe blasted the US for insisting on complete denuclearization before sanctions relief is granted.

Despite this, Choe said, "personal relations" between Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump are "still good and the chemistry is mysteriously wonderful". The last summit between the U-S and North Korea failed to narrow their differences on dismantling Pyongyang's nuclear program and Washington's willingness to ease sanctions. "We have every expectation he will live up to that commitment", he said.

North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui (center) speaks at an urgent gathering for diplomats in Pyongyang, North Korea on Friday. "While we haven't made as much progress in the six months as I would've hoped coming in on the first day, we stay closely engaged with our counterparts in North Korea".

"We don't know" what Kim will decide to do in the future and that any decision to resume such testing may "very much be his decision, and his decision alone", Biegun said. He said he had spoken to his South Korean counterpart but wanted to consult with other US officials before responding further.

John Delury, an expert on East Asia at Seoul's Yonsei University, said Choe's comments could be seen as a response to Bolton's threat to ramp up sanctions and did not mean the door to dialogue was closed.

Kim had committed multiple times to Trump in Hanoi that he would not to resume nuclear or missile testing, Pompeo said.

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

She accused the United States 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".

'What is clear is that the USA has thrown away a golden opportunity this time, ' she 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.

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".

The spokeswoman said the ministry had not confirmed why the North Korean officials decided not to attend.

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