In Brief

North Korea says US missed ‘golden opportunity’ at Hanoi talks

Pyongyang officials say frustrated leader Kim Jong Un may cut ties with Washington

North Korean officials have claimed that US President Donald Trump threw away a “golden opportunity” at the recent denuclearisation talks between the two countries in Vietnam.

Addressing a meeting of diplomats and media in the hermit kingdom’s capital of Pyongyang today, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said leader Kim Jong Un and his delegation were “deeply disappointed” by the failure of the two sides to reach any agreements.

Choe described Trump’s negotiating stance as “eccentric” and said that Kim had expressed confusion over the purpose of the talks as they returned to North Korea by train following the summit, in Hanoi on 27 February, the Daily Mail reports.

“On our way back to the homeland, our chairman of the state affairs commission [Kim] said: ‘For what reason do we have to make this train trip again?’,” she said.

Last month’s meeting followed equally unproductive talks between the two leaders last June in Singapore.

The North Korean leadership is calling on the US to change its “political calculation” of the relationship between the two countries, which appeared to be softening after decades of hostility.

Choe warned that Pyongyang has no intention of continuing denuclearisation talks unless the US takes measures that are commensurate to the changes that North Korea has taken, such as the 15-month moratorium on launches and tests. However, she stopped short of confirming that nuclear missile tests would resume.

“I want to make it clear that the gangster-like stand of the US will eventually put the situation in danger. We have neither the intention to compromise with the US in any form nor much less the desire or plan to conduct this kind of negotiation,” she added.

The Daily Telegraph notes that Choe’s comments “run counter to optimism displayed by a US negotiator this week”. On Monday, US special representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun claimed that “diplomacy is still very much alive” between the two nations.

Meanwhile, officials from China - which has taken on the role of mediator between Washington and Pyongyang - said that the “complicated and long-standing” conflict “cannot be solved overnight”, and called for more negotations. 

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