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N. Korea's 'gangster' statement should not hamper nuclear talks: Gallucci

All News 08:29 July 10, 2018

WASHINGTON, July 9 (Yonhap) -- A former U.S. nuclear negotiator on Monday dismissed concerns that North Korea's latest harsh rhetoric could undermine negotiations with the United States.

Robert Gallucci, who negotiated a nuclear agreement with North Korea in 1994, said the regime came out with a "much more gentle and careful" statement than usual after last weekend's talks with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Pyongyang.

The North Korean foreign ministry statement slammed the U.S. for making a "unilateral and gangster-like" demand for denuclearization in what it said was a violation of the spirit of U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's summit agreement last month.

"I didn't find it devastating in any way. Yes, it did contrast with the statement put out by the American side, but I don't think in any catastrophic way," Gallucci said in a press call organized by 38 North, a U.S. website monitoring the regime. "Their disappointment is reflected. But it is not an overly polemic, awful, statement, of the kind we're really quite used to getting out of Pyongyang. So, it doesn't 'bother' me, as a statement, at this point, or get in the way of proceeding with future engagement."

Joel Wit, founder of 38 North, added that the media did a "disservice" to the statement by focusing on the word "gangster."

"Buried in there was ... no criticism of President Trump, there was continued cultivation of the good relationship that came out of Singapore, and so I think that's very important," he said on the same call. "And then, of course, as I said earlier, there are substantive comments in there as well."

North Korea said, in the statement, "We still cherish our good faith in President Trump."

Relaying a letter sent from Kim to Trump, it also said the North Korean leader expressed his "expectation and conviction" that their "good personal relations" and his "sentiments of good faith" for Trump built during the Singapore summit would be "further consolidated" through future negotiations.


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