DPRK: US makes “gangster-like” demand to denuclearize at latest talks in Pyongyang

World Today

NKOREA-US-NUCLEAR-DIPLOMACYUS Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to members of the media following two days of meetings with Kim Yong Chol, a DPRK senior ruling party official and former intelligence chief, before boarding his plane at Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang on July 7, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / Andrew Harnik)

The latest round of talks between the U.S. and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has ended, but with very different descriptions of what happened.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there was progress during his two-day meetings with senior officials in Pyongyang. But the DPRK is accusing Washington of making ‘gangster-like’ demands.

CGTN’S Toby Muse tells us what prompted such strong language.

The DPRK called its high-level talks with the U.S., “regrettable” and said Washington was acting “gangster-like” in demanding that Pyongyang give up its nuclear weapons.

The statement was in sharp contrast to earlier comments by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who called his two-day consultations productive.

Pompeo was in the DPRK for follow-up talks after June’s meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

“We had many hours of productive conversations,” said Pompeo. “These are complicated issues. But we made progress on almost all of the central issues. Some places, a great deal of progress, other places there’s still more work to be done.”

Yet, a statement issued by the DPRK’s state news agency said the talks had been “very concerning” because it has led to a “dangerous phase that might rattle our willingness for denuclearization that had been firm.” The DPRK said the U.S. had not offered enough to match what Pyongyang had already given.

The talks reportedly focused on repatriating the remains of U.S. troops from the Korean War and DPRK’s requests the war be officially ended. A team from the Pentagon is due to meet with officials from the DPRK next week to discuss the issue. Additional talks are expected soon on the destruction of a DPRK missile engine testing facility.

“The North Koreans also confirmed the missile engine testing facility,” Pompeo said. “We talked about what the modalities would look like for the destruction of that facility as well.”

But divergent interpretations of the talks has fueled fears the two sides may have different understandings of the world “denuclearization.” The U.S. seeks a nuclear-free Korean peninsula. For the DPRK, it may mean the end to its nuclear program, but that Pyongyang keeps the weapons it’s already produced.

Pompeo is now in Tokyo to meet with the Republic of Korea and Japanese officials to discuss his trip to the DPRK. Japan has taken the hardest line with the DPRK, worried that any deal could leave the DPRK with shorter-range missiles that could pose a threat to the country.