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N. Korea refrains from criticism of U.S. despite breakdown of Trump summit

North Korea 10:11 March 05, 2019

SEOUL, March 5 (Yonhap) -- North Korean state media outlets have been refraining from criticism of the United States despite the no-deal breakdown of last week's second summit between leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump.

The restraint appears to reflect soul-searching by Pyongyang over whether and how to proceed with the nuclear negotiations with Washington after the embarrassing and unexpected collapse of the talks with Trump in Hanoi.

On Tuesday, Uriminzokkiri, one of the North's propaganda websites, called for escalating the "peace atmosphere" on the Korean Peninsula, saying Pyongyang remains firm in its commitment to ending hostile military relations with the South.

"Joint military exercises with foreign forces, which serve as a root cause of tensions in the Korean Peninsula situation, should no longer be allowed, and the introduction of war equipment, including strategic assets, should be completely halted," it said.

Last week's talks had been widely expected to produce another denuclearization-for-concession deal after the one reached at the first Trump-Kim summit in Singapore last June. But the two days of talks were abruptly cut short and ended without an agreement.

Trump and other U.S. officials said that the North demanded the lifting of all sanctions while offering to denuclearize the country's main Yongbyon nuclear complex only and refusing to accept a U.S. demand for denuclearizing other areas too.

North Korean officials, including Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, rejected the claim, saying they only demanded partial sanctions relief and the U.S. insisted on Pyongyang doing more in addition to dismantling Yongbyon facilities.

Ri also said the North's proposal will remain unchanged in future negotiations.

Despite the breakdown of the talks, the North's official Korean Central News Agency said a day later that Kim and Trump agreed to continue "productive dialogues," and at the end of the talks, Kim said goodbye to Trump while "promising the next meeting."

Kim returned to Pyongyang by train early Tuesday. KCNA's Korean-language service reported that Kim returned after a successful summit with the U.S., but its English-language version made no mention of the U.S. in the report.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un arrives in Pyongyang on March 5, 2019, via his special train after his trip to Vietnam in this photo from the North's Korean Central News Agency. Kim met for a summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi last week, but the two leaders did not sign an agreement that they had been expected to approve. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)


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