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North Korean Foreign Ministry Says Talks With Pompeo ‘Regrettable’

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter

While Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insists the talks in Pyongyang were “productive,” the North Korean foreign ministry called them “regrettable” Saturday.

“The results of the talks are extremely worrisome,” an unnamed foreign ministry spokesperson said Saturday after Pompeo departed for Tokyo, according to North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency. “We were expecting the United States … to come up with constructive measures to help build confidence in the spirit of reunion and talks.”

“However, the attitude and attitude of the United States in the first high-level talks [since the Singapore summit] were indeed regrettable,” the note on the discussions read, adding that the North was under the impression that there would be a “balanced implementation” of the Singapore agreement signed by President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The statement condemned the U.S. side’s demand for unilateral disarmament.

“What the U.S. is requesting is the cancerous demands from previous administrations that blocked all dialogue processes,” the anonymous foreign ministry representative explained, suggesting that U.S. calls for “complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization” are threatening peace talks. The North warned that if the U.S. does not change its attitude, Pyongyang’s “first, steadfast” commitment to “work toward” the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, as was stated in the Singapore agreement, may falter.

The foreign ministry also noted that the U.S. decision to cancel joint war games was nothing compared to the steps that North Korea had taken, such as the demolition of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site and the return of American prisoners. As American troops remain in position on the peninsula, the suspension of joint exercises could easily be reversed.

The North’s assessment was notably different from Pompeo’s view of the meetings. The secretary of state said that the two sides made “a great deal of progress,” but “there’s more work to be done.” (RELATED: Pompeo Insists Talks With North Korea ‘Productive,’ But ‘There’s Still More Work To Be Done’)

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