Following his latest visit to Pyongyang, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denied Sunday in Tokyo that Washington has softened its stance against North Korea, saying the U.S.is still demanding "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization (CVID)" of the nuclear-armed hermit state.
Devin, just hours after Pompeo wrapped up his third visit to the North, Pyongyang released a statement from an unnamed Foreign Ministry spokesperson on its state-run media Korea Central News Agency, slamming the USA for what he called their "gangster-like" unilateral demands.
It was reported Friday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in North Korea this week with a special gift for North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un from President Donald Trump: a CD that included Elton John's hit-song "Rocket Man".
"The settlement of the outstanding issues of concern surrounding North Korea, including the nuclear, missile and abduction issues, will be extremely important for Japan and also extremely important for peace and stability in the world", Pompeo told Abe.
However, the North said the outcome of the talks was "very concerning" as it had led to a unsafe phase which might rattle the country's "willingness for denuclearisation that had been firm".
But, briefing reporters before flying on to Tokyo, he offered few new details as to how North Korea would honour its commitment to "denuclearise" in exchange for USA security guarantees.
Speculation has been rife that the US might have eased its demand for the North because it recently started calling for "the final, fully verified denuclearization (FFVD)" of North Korea, instead of CVID, a key phrase jointly used by the United States, South Korea and Japan.
"Dealing with North Korea is hard because Kim Jong Un wants it to be hard", said Russel, who was assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs in the Obama administration.
However, the spokesman said the USA had come up with a variety of "conditions and excuses" to delay a declaration on ending the war. "Some places a great deal of progress, other places there's still more work to be done", he said.
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Those include the formation of a working group to determine exactly how North Korea's denuclearisation will be verified and a Thursday meeting with Pentagon officials to discuss the return of remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean War.
In recent days, intelligence reports have shown that North Korea is continuing work at a key rocket-engine facility.
One mistake Richardson said the USA made in its negotiations with Pyongyang was "going first" and announcing the termination of some military exercises with South Korea.
"If those requests were gangster-like, the world is a gangster", Pompeo said, as he noted that the U.N. Security Council has demanded numerous times that the North dispose of its nuclear weapons and end its ballistic missile program. Mr Pompeo said he "slept just fine".
The trip was Mr Pompeo's third to Pyongyang since April and his first since the summit, but unlike others he did not see leader Kim Jong-Un.
Meanwhile, North Korea says it disagrees with the USA calls for denuclearization, and called the discussions with Pompeo very concerning.
"You can not negotiate with North Korea and have them not play you", said the RAND Corp.'s Bruce Bennett, a veteran North Korea watcher. "I am determined to achieve the commitment that President Trump made, and I'm counting on chairman Kim to be determined to follow through on the commitment that he made".
North Korea calls talks with the United States "regrettable" while Secretary of State Pompeo says the discussions were productive; former US ambassador to the U.N. Bill Richardson weighs in on 'Sunday Morning Futures'.
Pyongyang noted that it had already destroyed a nuclear test site - a concession that Trump has publicly hailed as a victory for peace - and lamented that Pompeo had proved unwilling to match this with USA concessions.
Pompeo, however, said more talks were needed on both. Trump said after the Singapore summit that Kim had agreed to send the remains back to the United States.