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09 July 2018, 06:42 | Erica Roy
North Korea calls denuclearisation talks with US 'regrettable'
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday held out a brighter future for North Korea, urging leader Kim Jong-un to follow the path to prosperity taken by Vietnam.
The statement came shortly after Pompeo said he had made progress "on nearly all of the central issues" in the talks, including on setting a timeline for its denuclearisation, though more work remained to be done.
It said the outcome of the follow-up talks was very concerning because it had led to a "dangerous phase that might rattle our willingness for denuclearisation that had been firm".
The North's spokesman said: "We expected that the US side would come with productive measures conducive to building trust in line with the spirit of the North-US summit and (we) considered providing something that would correspond to them".
But the USA secretary of state said: "If those requests were gangster-like, the world is a gangster".
'Our expectations and hopes were so naive it could be called foolish'.
Pompeo visited the Communist country for the third time on Friday - the first following the historic summit between its leader, Kim Jong Un, and President Trump in May - in an effort to encourage Pyongyang to get rid of its nuclear weapons, which received a chilly response from North Korean officials.
America's top diplomat was speaking in Tokyo, where he had met with the foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea as well as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss the progress made during his trip to North Korea.
"We talked about what the North Koreans are continuing to do and how it's the case that we can get our arms around achieving what Chairman Kim and President Trump both agreed to", he said.
According to USA media reports, Pompeo did not meet Kim during the visit, unlike his previous trips during which he had met with the DPRK's top leader.
Trump had said during the Singapore summit that economic sanctions would remain in effect until North Korea reverses its nuclear programme, adding that there were no short-term plans to reduce the number of USA troops - some 28,500 - stationed in South Korea.
The countries did agree this weekend to set up a working group to iron out further disagreements and to meet Thursday to discuss recovering the remains of U.S. military personnel killed during the Korean War. Pompeo, however, said more talks were needed on both.
And in a pointed message to North Korea, Graham said the United States has more powerful weapons than sanctions to keep the rogue regime in line - if necessary.
After the Singapore summit in June, which also saw the U.S. promise to end military drills with South Korea, Mr Trump claimed that the North no longer posed a nuclear threat.
"I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake", he posted. "Some places a great deal of progress, other places there's still more work to be done", said Pompeo, according to a pool report from USA reporters who accompanied him to Pyongyang.
Pompeo, who has now made three visits to Pyongyang, began the outreach when he was still Trump's Central Intelligence Agency director and remained the pointman on negotiations after the process became public and he became secretary of state.
But North Korea's statement itself was notable for far more than just its negative tone. "So, thinking about those discussions you might have not slept well last night".
Yet three weeks later, the two sides were still divided on all the issues, including exactly what denuclearization means and how it might be verified.
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