Following his latest visit to Pyongyang, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denied Sunday in Tokyo that Washington has softened its stance against North Korea, saying the U.S.is still demanding "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization (CVID)" of the nuclear-armed hermit state.
Following Pompeo's remarks before departing Pyongyang, North Korea's foreign ministry said the talks with Pompeo were "regrettable" and accused the USA of making unilateral demands for denuclearization, The Associated Press reports.
-Vietnamese business community in Hanoi, Pompeo said Vietnam's experience since the normalization of relations with the U.S.in 1995 should be proof for North Korea that prosperity and partnership with the U.S.is possible after decades of conflict and mistrust.
That appeared to be a reference to Trump's national security adviser John Bolton, a prominent North Korea hawk who has been vilified by Pyongyang in the past.
Speculation has been rife that the USA might have eased its demand for the North because it recently started calling for "the final, fully verified denuclearization (FFVD)" of North Korea, instead of CVID, a key phrase jointly used by the United States, South Korea and Japan.
As he departed, he said he had made progress on "almost all of the central issues," although work remained to be done.
Even so, the U.S. envoy on Sunday insisted again that he thought the talks were "in good faith and productive".
"In light of the once-unimaginable prosperity and partnership we have with Vietnam today", Pompeo said, "I have a message for Chairman Kim Jong Un: President Trump believes your country can replicate this path".
Despite Pompeo's positive depiction of the events, signs had emerged that things weren't going as well as hoped.
Pompeo stayed overnight for the first time during his two-days of talks with officials in Pyongyang despite it being his third trip to the country.
"We did have very serious discussion on very important matters yesterday", Kim said, through a translator. "There are things that I have to clarify".
"We now have a meeting set up for July 12 - it could move by one day or two - where there will be discussions between the folks responsible for the repatriation of remains", he said. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said no meeting with Kim Jong-un had been planned.
Blunt said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he was unsurprised by North Korea's resistance to US efforts to rid the country of its nuclear program.
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The danger now is that if happens if Trump finds that North Korea isn't willing to bend to his most unrealistic demands, the countries could find themselves in an even more unstable position than where they started.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stressed the importance of a comprehensive resolution of issues related to North Korea during his meeting with Pompeo.
On Saturday, in the aftermath of a visit to Pyongyang by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a North Korean statement called the USA stance on negotiations.
It would be worse for Trump himself. North Korea committed at last month's summit to the "immediate repatriation" of remains already identified, but that hasn't happened yet.
Kim made a broad commitment at the Singapore summit to "work toward denuclearization", but did not give details on how or when he would dismantle North Korea's nuclear program. In June, the watchdog group reported that same facility was being worked on at a "rapid pace" but that it "should not be seen as having any relationship to North Korea's pledge to denuclearize".
"While we are encouraged by the progress of these talks, progress alone does not justify the relaxation of the existing sanctions regime".
That change raised suspicion that the U.S. was softening its demands for the country, an argument that State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert had insisted on Friday wasn't true.
But fissures have emerged in the U.S. stance.
Professor Yang Moo-Jin at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul said Pyongyang wants to separate "US bureaucrats from President Trump, expressing trust in him".
There will be a verification connected to the complete denuclearisation said, Mike Pompeo. "He didn't leave anything behind other than a letter", Nauert said. It said the USA side had shown little interest, giving "certain conditions and excuses".
The bombshell threat came just momebnts after Mr Pompeo hailed progress in Pyongyang on setting a timeline to North Korea's denuclearisation.