North Korea says it may suspend nuclear talks

Yevgeny Agoshkov  TASS

Yevgeny Agoshkov TASS

North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui (center) speaks at an urgent gathering for diplomats in Pyongyang, North Korea on Friday. She says the "gangster-like stand of the US will eventually put the situation in danger". He, however, offered no details on whether a new round of talks is being planned.

North Korea is considering suspending talks with the United States and may rethink a ban on missile and nuclear tests unless Washington makes concessions, news reports from the North's capital on Friday quoted a senior diplomat as saying.

On Monday, the U.S. special representative for North Korea said Washington would not accept a phased denuclearization by Pyongyang and maintained that the two nations remain closely engaged despite the collapse of the Hanoi summit.

Pompeo gave no sign of US willingness to soften its stance in demanding that North Korea give up its nuclear weapons.

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North Korea is considering breaking off negotiations with the USA and resuming nuclear and missile tests, following last month's summit in Vietnam that ended early and without an agreement, a government official said. "Just in the past hour, I spoke with my South Korean counterpart and we've discussed their reaction and our reaction, but I would like to speak further within USA government before we respond".

He downplayed recent satellite images that analysts say show activity at North Korean missile sites and urged against making any "snap judgment" on the significance of the images that appear to show that North Korea has begun rebuilding a portion of the Sohae facility previously used to test long-range missile engines.

"Whether to maintain this moratorium or not is the decision of our chairman of the state affairs commission", Choe said, referring to Kim by one of his many titles, the NY Times reported.

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

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She said it was entirely up to Kim whether to continue the launch and test moratorium, and said she expects he will "clarify his position" within a short period of time. "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".

Image copyright EPA Image caption North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui, seen here during the Hanoi summit What did North Korea say?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton on Friday denied that they derailed talks between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un two weeks ago in Vietnam after a fiery statement from North Korea accused the two men of creating a environment of hostility. But later, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton interfered, demanding full denuclearization before any sanctions would be lifted, which the North Koreans found "an absurd sophism".

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". USA officials explained that decommissioning Yongbyon would not do enough to irreversibly end North Korea's nuclear missile program, while the concessions North Korea demanded would effectively unravel the sanctions regime. "The government will put every effort to resume the North Korean - U.S. talks".

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'This time we understood very clearly that the United States has a very different calculation to ours, ' she added.

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