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North Korea: US threw away ‘golden opportunity’

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North Korea: US threw away ‘golden opportunity’

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may break off denuclearisation talks with the US and resume missile and nuclear testing, a senior official says.

Vice Foreign Minister Choe Sun-hui told foreign diplomats the US threw away “a golden opportunity” at a recent summit between President Trump and Mr Kim.

North Korea had offered to dismantle its main Yongbyon nuclear complex.

But talks collapsed after Mr Trump refused to lift sanctions unless North Korea destroyed all its nuclear sites.

Mr Kim is set to make an official announcement on his position regarding future talks with the US soon, Ms Choe said in Pyongyang.

“We have no intention to yield to the US demands in any form, nor are we willing to engage in negotiations of this kind,” she told reporters in North Korea, Russia’s state Tass news agency reported.

She accused the US 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”.

Ms Choe said that North Korea’s demand during the recent summit was for five key economic sanctions to be lifted, not all sanctions, as Mr Trump said after talks broke down.

“What is clear is that the US has thrown away a golden opportunity this time,” she said. “I’m not sure why the US came out with this different description. We never asked for the removal of sanctions in their entirety.”

Mr Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo clearly stated after talks in February that North Korean officials had asked for full sanctions relief.

“It was all about the sanctions. They wanted the sanctions lifted in their entirety and we couldn’t do that,” Mr Trump told reporters. “Sometimes you have to walk and this was one of those times,” he said.

In Washington this week, the US special representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, said that diplomacy was “still very much alive”, though he did not say if there had been any negotiations since the summit, or outline any plans for further talks.

The two leaders first met in Singapore last year, in an unprecedented summit between a US sitting president and a North Korean leader. Their second meeting was in Hanoi in February. –BBC

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