USA attitude during denuclearization talks 'regrettable', says North Korea

The motorcade carrying U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo drives towards Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang North Korea Friday

The motorcade carrying U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo drives towards Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang North Korea Friday

"Sanctions will remain in place until final, fully verified denuclearisation as agreed to by Chairman Kim (Jong Un) occurs", Pompeo said, adding that the USA would seek to smooth the path by providing security guarantees requested by Pyongyang.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (right) says goodbye to North Korea's Kim Yong-chol before boarding his plane at Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang on Saturday.

Pompeo downplayed a harshly critical North Korean statement after the talks in which the country's foreign ministry bashed hopes for a quick deal and attacked the USA for making unreasonable and extortionate demands aimed at forcing it to abandon nuclear weapons.

Though Trump claimed "there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea" following the Singapore summit, US officials cited by NBC News reported that the country is still covertly producing uranium for nuclear weapons.

At the same time the USA state department was forced to deny reports Mr Pompeo gave Kim Jong Un a CD of Elton John's Rocket Man - a playful reference to Donald Trump's nickname for the North Korean leader.

He was speaking at a joint press conference with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts - Kang Kyung-wha and Taro Kono - in Tokyo.

"If those requests were gangster-like, the world is a gangster", says US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, noting that numerous UNSC resolutions have demanded the North rid itself of nuclear weapons and end its ballistic missile programme.

On Sunday, the U.S. secretary of state will meet the foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea in Tokyo. The pledge to "work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula" was listed third. But previous demands by the US for "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization", have made way for the phrase "final, fully verified denuclearization", as used in a tweet by Pompeo, Friday.

Speaking in Tokyo, Pompeo said his efforts to push the North on disarmament had the backing of the entire worldwide community.

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"We consider this very important too since it is the first senior level face-to-face meeting since the summit between our two leaders", said Secretary Pompeo in response.

China is North Korea's traditional ally and main trading partner, and is a key influence on Pyongyang.

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

"These stumbling blocks and tactics are normal", said Duyeon Kim, a fellow at the Korean Peninsula Future Forum.

Pompeo had no meeting with the North's leader unlike his previous two visits there.

"Pompeo's visit I think was a useful beginning to set out parameters and to start working on the details of a deal", said Joel Wit, founder of the 38 North research institute.

While trying to keep the Chinese on board for North Korea negotiations, Trump took a tough stance on trade with China, slapping tariffs last week on $34 billion in Chinese exports to the United States, prompting retaliation in kind from Beijing. "We agreed to the denuclearisation of North Korea", Trump wrote on Twitter on Monday.

"We know it is a real possibility because we see how Vietnam has travelled this remarkable path", Mr Pompeo said. Pompeo spoke with Trump, Bolton and White House chief of staff John Kelly on Saturday before his second round of meetings with Kim Yong Chol.

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