The two days of talks between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol, senior North Korean official, ended with opposing view points from the two nations.
Before he left Pyongyang, Pompeo told reporters the talks were productive, held in good faith, and resulted in a “good deal of progress”.
The North Korean statement was less rosy, calling the attitude of the Americans “regrettable”, the results of the talks “extremely worrisome”, and US demands “cancerous”, NK News reports. The North Korean statement declared, “Our expectations and hopes were so naive it could be called foolish.”
While Pyongyang had hoped the United States would “come up with constructive measures to help build confidence” and sought “balanced implementation” of the June 12 DPRK-U.S. agreement, it continued, the American negotiators had demanded unilateral nuclear disarmament.
“What the U.S. is requesting is the cancerous demands from previous administrations that blocked all dialogue processes,” the statement said, arguing that a phased, step-by-step approach would be the “fastest way to realize the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”
The North Korean statement carefully expressed continuing faith and trust in President Trump and warned against “headwinds” going against the “wills of the leaders”, while accusing bad faith on the part of the Americans, the AP reports.
In a statement released by an unnamed Foreign Ministry spokesman, the North accused the United States of betraying the spirit of last month’s summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim by making “one-sided and robber-like” demands on “CVID,” or the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea.
The North Koreans also minimized the concession of the US halting military exercises with South Korea and argued North Korea had made the larger concession by blowing up the tunnels to its nuclear site. Another topic on the table was the formal ending of the Korean War, according to the North Korean statement, and they were disappointed in the “excuses” the US used to avoid agreeing to a declaration .
While President Trump declared the June 12 summit a success that resulted in concrete actions, tweeting “there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea”, the AP explains Pompeo emphasized that there was work yet to be done in the areas of destruction of the missile facility and in the return of remains of US soldiers killed in the Korean War.
“We now have a meeting set up for July 12 — it could move by one day or two — where there will be discussions between the folks responsible for the repatriation of remains. (It) will take place at the border and that process will begin to develop over the days that follow,” he said as he boarded his plane for Tokyo.
On the destruction of the missile engine plant, Pompeo said, “We talked about what the modalities would look like for the destruction of that facility as well, and some progress there as well, and then we have laid out a path for further negotiation at the working level so the two teams can get together and continue these discussions.”
North Korea committed to immediate repatriation of military remains at the Singapore summit but that has not occurred yet.
This was Pompeo’s first trip to North Korea since the summit. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert stated there were no plans to meet with Kim Jong Un on this trip, although Pompeo had met with the North Korean leader on his previous trips and US officials had expected such a meeting this time.
The high level talks come at a time when skepticism regarding North Korea’s commitment to denuclearization is high and concerning reports of North Korea’s intent to deceive the US have been made public.
Why It Matters
Diplomacy is a tedious business and loud, premature declarations of “mission accomplished” are rarely helpful. North Korea has long been a thorn in the side of many a US president and there was no rational reason to believe that, sans years of painstaking work behind the scenes, that that status would change anytime soon. Meeting with Kim Jong Un like President Trump did, on the world stage as equals, merely emboldened Un in playing the games he learned to play at his dictator father’s knee. Playing nice with murderous regimes rarely ends well and using a summit of this nature to score legacy points never does.
Right now, it appears that Kim Jong Un is winning the battle of wits that Trump engaged him in and Donald Trump’s gift of an Elton John “Rocket Man” CD, complete with HIS autograph, not the musician’s, did not sway Un to good behavior. Neville Chamberlain might be shocked but no one else should be.