North Koreans Miss Meeting About US Soldier Remains

14 July, 2018, 11:52 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Kim Jong Un inspects a potato flour factory

North Korean leader Kim-Jong-un has sent President Donald Trump a note expressing his satisfaction with last month's summit in Singapore, and his desire to meet again. "Great progress being made".

North Korea's criticism of talks with Pompeo fueled further doubts about whether Trump will ever achieve his goal of "complete denuclearization", much less on the timeline of one to 2-1/2 years set out by various administration officials.

Speaking with reporters before departing on a trip to Europe, Trump was asked to confirm a South Korean news report that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took with him to Pyongyang a CD of Elton John's song "Rocket Man" to give to Kim last week.

Ko Yu-hwan, a South Korean analyst at Dongguk University, said the talks may not be exclusively focused on the return of remains, local news network JTBC reported.

An agreement to return the remains of USA service members was touted by the Trump administration as one of the commitments secured during the president's historic summit with Kim on 12 June.

There is a long road ahead for the process of negotiations that will hopefully lead to denuclearization, and as the Atlantic explains, it is hard to say whether or not current situation represents the beginnings of slow progress, a strategic faltering by the White House, or a North Korean strategy of dragging their feet. Reports say North Korea is now asking for higher-level talks for Sunday.

The Pentagon says Pyongyang has indicated several times they have as many as 200 sets of remains that could be those of USA soldiers who died in the war.

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In the letter dated July 6, Kim thanked Trump for his "energetic and extraordinary efforts" to improve the once hostile relations between the two countries.

While Pompeo said the talks were in good faith, Pyongyang's take was staunchly negative, warning the future of the peace process was being jeopardised by "unilateral and gangster-like" U.S. demands for its nuclear disarmament.

Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim met for the first time in Singapore to discuss the relations between their nations and potential denuclearization June 12.

Pompeo also said the two sides had agreed to hold discussions on Thursday at the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom on the repatriation of remains of Americans killed in the 1950-53 Korean War. Pyongyang has asked the UN Command Armistice Commission to upgrade the talks to a higher level to include a US general, South Korea's foreign ministry said.

North Korean and United States teams, as well as UN officials, had been due to discuss the details of repatriation.

"We will be ready", Nauert said.

North Korea proposed to reschedule the meeting for Sunday.

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