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Pompeo lauds progress in DPRK visit, but Pyongyang says talks regrettable

10 July 2018

US President Donald Trump has said he has "confidence" that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will honor the denuclearisation "contract" they signed, but that China may be seeking to undermine a deal.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has accused Beijing of being behind Pyongyang's condemnation of recent talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, while handing out weird threats to North Korea's leadership.

The North's statement came on Saturday, hours after the U.S. secretary of state wrapped up two days of talks with senior North Korean officials without meeting Kim Jong-un but with commitments for new discussions on denuclearisation and the repatriation of the remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean war.

Pompeo was in North Korea over the weekend meeting with officials, not Kim himself, to discuss the return of the remains of US soldiers who were killed in the Korean War and to further press for the dismantling of a North Korean missile engine test site.

But shortly after he left Pyongyang, North Korea issued an angry statement rejecting what it described as Washington's "gangster-like" demand for rapid nuclear disarmament. If I paid attention to what the press said, I'd go nuts, and I refuse to do that.

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"The fact that we're co-operating - and not fighting - is proof that when a country decides to create a brighter future for itself alongside the United States, we follow through on American promises", Pompeo said.

On his flight to Pyongyang, Pompeo said both sides made commitments at the Singapore summit on the complete denuclearization of North Korea and on what a transformed relationship between their two countries might look like.

The statement from North Korea's Foreign Ministry also said Kim Jong Un still holds "feelings of trust" towards President Trump and have said that Kim sent a handwritten letter to Pompeo laying out his position. The news agency said if they all attend, it would be a rare chance the leaders to talk about North Korea's nuclear issues on the sidelines.

Mr Pompeo said Vietnam's experience since the normalisation of relations with the U.S. in 1995 should be proof for North Korea that prosperity and partnership with the USA is possible after decades of conflict and mistrust.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said there was never an expectation that Pompeo would meet with Kim, although other USA government officials previously indicated that was the plan.

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According to the Pentagon, North Korean officials have indicated in the past that they have the remains of as many as 200 US troops.

It's been almost one month since President Trump met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in Sinagpore.

"However, the attitude and stance the United States showed in the first high-level meeting [between the countries] was no doubt regrettable", the spokesman said.

"We had anticipated the United States side would come with a constructive idea, thinking we would take something in return", the statement said, warning its "resolve for denuclearisation. may falter". "But this expectation and hope of ours were so naive as to be gullible".

Heather Nauert, a spokesperson for the state department, tweeted a number of photos during the talks, including one of a beaming Mr Pompeo pictured after the final meeting.

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In criticizing the talks with Pompeo, however, it carefully avoided attacking Trump personally, saying "we wholly maintain our trust toward President Trump, ' but stressed that Washington must not allow 'headwinds" against the 'wills of the leaders'.

Pompeo lauds progress in DPRK visit, but Pyongyang says talks regrettable