North Korea vents anger after USA talks

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Pyongyang has voiced its regret over America's attitude during high-level talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and accused Washington of seeking unilateral and forced denuclearization from North Korea.

The North's statement came hours after Pompeo wrapped up two days of talks with senior North Korean officials without meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un but with commitments for new discussions on denuclearization and the repatriation of the remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean War.

"The U.S. just came out with such unilateral and robber-like denuclearization demands as CVID, declaration and verification that go against the spirit of the North-U.S. summit meeting", he added, calling the talks "really disappointing".

According to the North Korean official, the outcome of the follow-up talks led to a "dangerous phase that might rattle our willingness for denuclearization that had been firm".

North Korea has branded the U.S. attitude at the latest talks over its nuclear programme "regrettable" and "extremely troubling".

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters that the USA remains "very firm" in its stance that three basic goals be met: complete denuclearization of North Korea, security assurances, and the repatriation of remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean War.

Pompeo said North Korea had confirmed it meant to destroy a missile-engine testing facility and the two sides discussed the "modalities" of what that would look like.

Following the highly anticipated June 12 summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, the US President wrote on Twitter that "there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea".

It was unclear if Pompeo met this time with Kim Jong Un, as he had on his previous two trips to Pyongyang.

"We did have very serious discussion on very important matters yesterday", Kim said, through a translator.

All along, however, experts had wondered how the U.S. and North Korea would bridge differences that have bedeviled their talks for decades and only seemed exacerbated under Trump.

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Nauert said the July 12 meeting, along the border between North and South Korea, would be at working level and involve U.S. Defense Department officials.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) and Kim Yong Chol (L).

Mr Pompeo said he "slept just fine".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo departs his guest house in Pyongyang, North Korea, Saturday, July 7, 2018, to call President Donald Trump on a secure phone. "So thinking about those discussions you might have not slept well last night".

Pompeo met for almost three hours Friday with a senior North Korean official in Pyongyang to nail down specifics of commitments on denuclearization made at Trump's summit with Kim.

"Particularly, they have suggested that they are disappointed by the United States insistence on focusing on the denuclearisation plans over what they described as big-picture issues", she said.

The Trump administration has said that if North Korea abandons its nuclear weapons program it could become a rich and successful country.

"North Korea expected Pompeo to bring a concrete proposal for security guarantee but it was disappointed as the U.S. side reiterated the old demand that the North should denuclearize first before the USA gives it anything in return", he said.

A state department spokesperson said Mr Pompeo had been "very firm" in focusing on denuclearisation, as well as on security assurances and another important U.S. demand - the return of remains of USA service personnel from the Korean War.

According to the New York Times, Pompeo has said that one goal of the talks is to determine whether the North Koreans are honest about denuclearization, while privately conceding to some colleagues that he considers the talks to be doomed. North Korea committed at last month's summit to the "immediate repatriation" of remains already identified, but that hasn't happened yet.

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