Harsh words may mean North Korea seeking deal with Trump

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

"I have confidence that Kim Jong-un will honor the contract we signed and, even more importantly, our handshake", he said, before suggesting that China was attempting to strain relations between the USA and North Korea because of Trump's trade tariffs.

The statement was carried by the official KCNA news agency on Saturday soon after Mr Pompeo left Pyongyang, raising questions about the future of the talks in which he is trying to persuade Pyongyang to give up a nuclear weapons programme that threatens the United States.

Speaking alongside his South Korean and Japanese counterparts, Pompeo said, "While we are encouraged by the progress of these talks, progress alone does not justify the relaxation of the existing sanctions regime". He said: "I'm counting on Chairman Kim to be determined to follow through on the commitment that he made".

"On this trip I'm seeking to fill in some details on these commitments and continue the momentum towards implementation of what the two leaders promised each other and the world", Pompeo said.

There was no immediate explanation of what needed to be clarified, but the two sides have been struggling to specify what exactly "denuclearisation" would entail and how it could be verified to the satisfaction of the United States.

The US president and North Korean leader met in Singapore nearly a month ago for an unprecedented summit between sitting leaders of the two countries, which resulted in a general joint declaration that did not include a timetable or concrete commitments from North Korea on denuclearisation.

The statement North Korea released after those meetings sharply criticized Pompeo for failing to follow through on the progress Trump and Kim had made in Singapore.

"In principle the interests that the president of the United States has shown is that they want to denuclearise North Korea so their territory is not in danger, and that of course is something that has to do with their own interests", Ojea Quintana told AFP in Seoul.

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On Sunday, during their 40-minute trilateral meeting, Pompeo briefed Kono and Kang about the results of his latest talks with the North, Kang said.

"This began when the USA - the United States and Vietnam began working together to repatriate the remains of American service members lost in Vietnam", he said.

"We had anticipated the USA side would come with a constructive idea, thinking we would take something in return", said the statement. "But this expectation and hope of ours was so naive as to be gullible", the statement said.

South Korea's so-called peace stocks - a group of companies that stand to benefit from increased economic ties with North Korea - slumped on Monday.

"There will be a verification connected to the complete denuclearization, that's what President Trump and Chairman Kim both agreed to", he said.

"Just as was the case with Vietnam, repatriation of USA remains from the DPRK will be important not just to American families, but to building trust between the United States and North Korea as well", Pompeo said in a release provided by the State Department.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert tweeted that Pompeo spoke briefly before leaving Pyongyang. Pompeo never definitively said he would not meet with Kim. -North Korea negotiations still have a long way to go. The statement called for a series of simultaneous actions from both sides, including exchanges to improve relations, the dismantling of a North Korean missile-engine testing ground and talks to return the remains of American soldiers killed in the Korean War.

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