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NKorean official: Kim rethinking U.S. talks, launch moratorium

15 March 2019

"She left open the possibility that negotiations continue", Pompeo said when asked about the official's comments Friday at the State Department, where he also touched on the International Criminal Court and the brutal attack on two mosques in New Zealand.

North Korea has said it is considering suspending denuclearization talks with the U.S. amid an "atmosphere of hostility and mistrust" created by high-ranking United States officials, Russian news agency TASS and The Associated Press reported on Friday.

"We have no intention to yield to the USA demands (at the Hanoi summit) in any form, nor are we willing to engage in negotiations of this kind", the agency quoted North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui as saying.

However, US National Security Advisor John Bolton disputed Choe's characterization of the breakdown of talks as "inaccurate" and said he had discussed the reports from North Korea with his South Korean counterparts.

The Hanoi summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un wrapped up ahead of schedule and with no deal, let alone a breakthrough that could move negotiations past the deadlock. Pyongyang announced that Kim Jong-un will shortly decide whether he intends to continue his moratorium on missile and nuclear tests after the failure of the Hanoi summit to make progress toward resolving the standoff on the Korean peninsula.

'I want to make it clear that the gangster-like stand of the USA will eventually put the situation in danger.

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'Personal relations between the two supreme leaders are still good and the chemistry is mysteriously wonderful, ' she added.

"I'm not sure why the USA came out with this different description", Choe said. "(We) can't assess the current situation only with Vice Foreign Minister Choe's remarks", Cheong Wa Dae said.

"(We) are keeping close tabs on the situation.

The talks broke down because the USA side was "too busy with pursuing their own political interests and had no honest intention to achieve a result", Choe said in comments carried by Russian state news agency TASS.

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

She also said the US had "lost a golden opportunity" at the US-North Korea summit in Hanoi on February 27 and 28. "It is likely to gauge the US reaction in the days ahead before making a decision to launch a rocket", he said.

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North Korea made its first public assessment of the meeting on Friday, with Deputy Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui, who took part in the talks, accusing senior figures in the Trump team of overriding the president and bringing "an atmosphere of hostility and mistrust" to the table, AP reported.

According to Choe, the decision will be included in an official statement from Kim concerning the direction North Korea plans to take in the wake of the Hanoi summit.

USA envoy Stephen Biegun has also ruled out doing denuclearization "incrementally", although he insisted on Monday that diplomacy was "still very much alive".

It was not immediately clear if the veteran diplomat was just trying to put pressure on Washington or whether North Korea is seriously considering abandoning denuclearization talks.

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

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NKorean official: Kim rethinking U.S. talks, launch moratorium