Are the talks between North Korea and the US going wrong?
By Joe Harker
After the initial meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-Un appeared to end in success, at least as a publicity stunt, talks between the two nations were inevitable. Denuclearisation was on the table, although the nations disagree on what that means and North Korea might actually be upgrading their nuclear facilities.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a two day visit to North Korea where he tried to negotiate further on the country giving up nuclear weapons but came away empty handed after being accused of "gangster like" tactics. North Korean officials said US attitudes were "extremely troubling" and contradicted Pompeo's claim that he had made progress at the negotiation table.
When Kim promised to work towards denuclearisation after a meeting with Trump details on what that meant to North Korea and how it would happen were sparse. Pompeo's visit was supposed to flesh out how denuclearisation could happen but he appears to have made things worse.
The US said sanctions would continue until "complete denuclearisation" was achieved but the North Koreans see this as extortion. They said: "We had anticipated the US side would come with a constructive idea, thinking we would take something in return.
"The US is fatally mistaken if it went to the extent of regarding that North Korea would be compelled to accept, out of its patience, demands reflecting its gangster-like mindset."
They also warned that support for denuclearisation "may falter", threatening to render the meeting between Kim and Trump all for nothing and leave it as yet another example of North Korea making vague promises that later fell apart.
Pompeo hit back at North Korean comments and advised they learned how the real world works, saying "the world is a gangster". The Trump administration has refused to gradually lift sanctions as North Korea reduces nuclear capacity. It is instead operating on a remit that they will all be lifted when North Korea has no more nuclear weapons or facilities.
North Korea's idea of denuclearisation extends to the Korean peninsula, meaning no nuclear weapons in South Korea and the US nuclear umbrella being withdrawn. The US see it differently, considering denuclearisation to mean North Korea gets rid of nuclear weapons and facilities, abandoning any capability of being a nation state with nuclear weapons.
CNN reports that the US has "no clarity" on the next steps it needs to take in talks with North Korea. There are concerns that Kim Jong-Un is not "acting in good faith" and is looking for an opportunity to declare the talks unsuitable while leaked intelligence findings suggest North Korea has no intention of completely giving up nuclear weapons. Maybe the talks are going wrong but they may never have been able to succeed in the first place.