Kim Jong Un accuses US of acting in ‘bad faith’


Kim Jong Un accuses US of acting in 'bad faith'
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives guidance while attending a flight training of Korean People's Army Air Force at undisclosed location in this April 16, 2019 photo released on April 17, 2019 by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA via REUTERS

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told Russian President Vladimir Putin that he believes the United States acted in “bad faith” at the Hanoi summit, North Korean state media reported.

The report in North Korea’s state-run KCNA news was released on the final day of Kim’s visit to the far-eastern Russian city of Vladivostok. Kim and Putin met there for the first time Thursday, spending about three and a half hours together. The North Korean leader left Vladivostok Friday afternoon aboard his armored government train.

KCNA reported that “Kim Jong Un said that the situation on the Korean Peninsula and the region is now at a standstill, and has reached a critical point where it may return to its original state, as the US took a unilateral attitude in bad faith at the recent second DPRK-US summit talks,” using the acronym for North Korea’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

KCNA also said Kim told his Russian hosts that “peace and security on the Korean Peninsula will entirely depend on the US’ future attitude, and the DPRK will guard itself for every possible situation.”

US President Donald Trump’s second meeting with Kim in Hanoi in February ended earlier than expected and without a deal. Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the two sides could not agree on the amount of sanctions relief to exchange for concrete steps by North Korea to eliminate its nuclear weapons program.

While Trump said both sides left things on good terms, North Korean officials have accused the US of sabotaging the talks.

Diplomats from Pyongyang have used similar language to Kim’s in describing US demands at the Hanoi summit.

North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui told reporters in March that the country has “no intention to yield to the US demands (put forward at the Hanoi summit) in any form, nor are we willing to engage in negotiations of this kind.”

Putin and Kim did not sign any documents or agreements after their meetings, though they weren’t expected to. The summit was instead heavy on lavish symbolism and platitudinous remarks about mutual friendship. Kim called the relationship “a precious treasure of our two nation’s people that is an amalgamation of the mutual goal and interest based on historical tradition.”

Analysts say the meeting may have been attempt by the Russian leader to reinsert Moscow into one of the most important regional conflicts after months of sitting on the sidelines while China, South Korea and the US engaged in diplomatic talks with North Korea.

Others say Pyongyang may have been shopping for deals, seeking to lessen its economic reliance on Beijing and hedge against the possibility that talks with Washington fail.

“The trip is more about stirring other interlocutors into renewed talks/concessions,” said Robert Kelly, a professor of international relations at Pusan National University in South Korea.

 

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