Pompeo 'confident' USA will continue 'progress' with North Korea on denuclearization

Cheryl Sanders
April 16, 2019

He said he was open to discussing smaller steps, such as helping to ease North Korea's humanitarian problems, but that, in general, the US wants sanctions to remain.

Kim used a speech in front of the Supreme People's Assembly on Friday to criticise the USA president, Donald Trump, and to question whether North Korea would enter into a third round of talks with America, following summits between the two nations in Hanoi and Singapore.

In Hanoi, the United States came "to the talks only racking its brain to find ways that are absolutely impracticable" and did "not really ready itself to sit with us face-to-face and settle the problem", Kim said.

Speaking to a session of North Korea's rubber-stamp parliament, Kim also said he is open to meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump "one more time", but only if the U.S. changes its attitude, according to North Korean state media.

"The South Korean authorities should not act an officious "mediator" and "booster" that adopt a vacillating stand depending on the trend and engage themselves in an array of visits", Kim said, in a statement carried by state-run outlets the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and the Rodong Sinmun. But during a visit to Washington on Thursday, he failed to gain any traction in pushing for a smaller, interim deal between the U.S. and North Korea to at least make some progress on denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

Trump said Thursday he was mulling a third summit with Kim ahead of a meeting with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in at the Oval Office - a move supported by Seoul. "But US-style dialogue of unilaterally pushing its demands doesn't fit us, and we have no interest in it", Kim said during the speech.

Korean state media also graced Kim with a new title, "Supreme Representative of All the Korean People", which is not mere hyperbole but an actual title ratified by government decree several months ago.

Mr Trump and Mr Kim have met twice, in Hanoi in February and Singapore in June 2018, building goodwill but failing to agree on a deal to lift sanctions in exchange for North Korea abandoning its nuclear and missile programs.

The Hanoi summit "raised strong questions about whether the steps we took under our strategic decision were right, and gave us a sense of caution about whether the U.S.is even really trying to improve the DPRK-U.S. relationship", Kim said, using the initials of North Korea's full name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. "North Korea summit" will be held.

Despite the mention a possible third summit with Trump, Kim does not appear willing to wait for long, as he called for Washington's "courageous decision until the end of the year".

"I'd like to express my high regard for how you have continued to express your trust towards Chairman Kim", Moon said.

In Hanoi, Pyongyang offered to close its main nuclear facility in return for sanctions relief, but Washington sought a "big deal" comprising - in details which have emerged post-summit - the demand that North Korea surrender all its nuclear arms and weapons of mass destruction.

"It is our consistent stand that in order to give further momentum to the atmosphere of improving the north-south ties, it is prerequisite to foil the moves of hostile forces against reunification and peace at home and overseas", he said.

Kim has signed vague statements calling for the "complete denuclearization" of the peninsula in his meetings with Trump and Moon.

When asked about Kim's comments, South Korea's presidential office said Seoul is committed toward keeping the atmosphere of dialogue alive and helping negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang resume at an early date.

Other reports by iNewsToday