North Korea says no more talks with US a day after the US gave in to North Korea's demands

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  • A senior North Korean official said Monday that Pyongyang was "no longer interested in such talks that bring nothing to us" and that it would "no longer gift the US president with something he can boast of."
  • The statement comes one day after the US and South Korea postponed a joint military drill, which North Korea sees as an antagonistic act.
  • A North Korean statement last Wednesday warned the US that it was running out of time to make substantive concessions - like sanctions relief or a cessation of military exercises.
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North Korea said on Monday it was not interested in meaningless talks with the US just so President Donald Trump had something to boast about, urging an end to what it called a policy of hostility if Washington wanted dialogue.

The statement came just hours after the US and South Korea indefinitely postponed a planned military exercise in what the US defense secretary called an "act of goodwill" toward North Korea.

The comment by senior North Korean official Kim Kye Gwan, who is a former vice foreign minister, came after Trump this weekend called on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to "act quickly" and hinted at another meeting.

Kim Kye Gwan, in a statement carried by the state KCNA news agency, said he had seen the November 17 tweet by Trump signalling another summit but added that little had improved despite three meetings between the two leaders since June 2018.

"We are no longer interested in such talks that bring nothing to us," he said.

"As we have got nothing in return, we will no longer gift the US president with something he can boast of, but get compensation for the successes that President Trump is proud of as his administrative achievements," Kim said.

kim jong un donald trump

A similar statement by North Korea's State Affairs Commission last week warned of dire but unspecified consequences if the US failed to come to the negotiating table with any substantive bargaining chips, telling the US to "ponder over what it can do during the short last hours left."

Trump and North Korean leader Kim met for the first time in a landmark summit in Singapore in June 2018 to push forward negotiations the US hopes will lead to North Korea's dismantling of its nuclear-weapons and missile programs in exchange for the lifting of punishing international sanctions.

The talks have made no significant progress since a second summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un collapsed in Vietnam in February, even though the two leaders agreed in June, at a third meeting, to reopen negotiations.

In April, Kim set a year-end deadline for the US to show more flexibility, raising concern North Korea could resume nuclear and long-range missile testing, which it has suspended since 2017.

Kim Kye Gwan said the US must make a decisive move to abandon its hostile policy if it genuinely wanted dialogue. He did not elaborate.

In his Twitter message, Trump urged Kim Jong Un, to "get the deal done," signing off "See you soon!"

The message came hours after the US and South Korea announced they were postponing military exercises to bolster the stalled peace push.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the postponement was an attempt to "keep the door open" to diplomacy rather than a concession and that he saw it "as a good-faith effort" by the US and South Korea "to facilitate a political agreement - a deal, if you will - that leads to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula."

Esper and his South Korean counterpart, Jeong Kyeong-doo, were in Bangkok for an Asia defense ministers' conference.

North Korea denounces such exercises as a preparation for invasion. The US has had a significant military presence in South Korea since the end of the Korean War, and the two have continued smaller-scale drills to maintain readiness while hoping to appease Kim Jong Un.

On Sunday, Pyongyang said a recent UN resolution on its human-rights conditions was an obstacle to new US talks.

south korea military exercise

Asked about the North Korean remarks, a senior US defense official told Reuters that Washington had "left the door open" to Pyongyang.

"Their attitude so far has not been helpful. Hopefully they'll see that this is a historic opportunity for them," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Esper also discussed North Korea with Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe on Monday in Bangkok, urging Beijing to encourage North Korea to return to the negotiating table "with an attitude of problem solving," the official said.

Working-level talks between the two sides in October ended with the North Korean envoy accusing the Americans of coming to the table empty-handed.

On Monday, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui travelled to Russia, a trip that analysts said could be to discuss strategy for the US negotiations.

This month, North Korea said it had turned down a US offer for more talks, saying it was not interested if they were aimed at "appeasing us" ahead of the deadline.

"For Kim Jong Un, having set a year-end deadline himself, it is most important to meet it," Cho Han-bum, senior research fellow at Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul, told Reuters.

While North Korea wants the sanctions lifted, the US has insisted Kim must dismantle his nuclear weapons program first.

(Reporting for Reuters by Joyce Lee and Sangmi Cha in Seoul; additional reporting by Phil Stewart in Manila and Chang-Ran Kim in Tokyo; editing by Jack Kim, Robert Birsel and Lisa Shumaker.)

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