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Pro-N.K. media presses U.S. to drop demand for Pyongyang to forgo nukes first

All Headlines 16:32 May 18, 2019

SEOUL, May 18 (Yonhap) -- A pro-North Korea newspaper in Japan urged the United States on Saturday to retract its position that Pyongyang should forgo nuclear arms first before rewards are given, in an apparent call for flexibility to resume nuclear talks between the two sides.

The Chosun Sinbo also warned that diplomacy with Pyongyang could come to naught if the U.S. fails to meet the year-end deadline that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has set for Washington to come up with the "right methodology" for the stalled negotiations.

The negotiations have hit a deadlock since the second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim in Hanoi in February collapsed due to a failure to bridge gaps over the scope of Pyongyang's denuclearization and Washington's sanctions relief.

"An agreement was not reached (in Hanoi) as (the U.S.) insisted on its demand (for the North) to renounce its nuclear arms aimed at North Korea's unilateral disarmament," the newspaper said in an article.

"The North's position is that it can engage in negotiations when the U.S. stops its arrogant dialogue method in which it only makes its own demands," it added.

The newspaper also said that it can't prejudge whether the "Hanoi pledge" can be maintained should a third summit between Trump and Kim not materialize within this year, in reference to Kim's commitment to stopping nuclear and long-range missile tests.

"It is clear that even if the U.S. slaps sanctions, the North would not approach it for negotiations," the newspaper said.

"If (the U.S.) fails to keep the year-end deadline put forward (by Kim), (Trump) could see the achievements from diplomacy with North Korea come to naught ahead of a vote where (his) reelection is at stake," it added.

Recently, Pyongyang fired off a fusillade of projectiles into the East Sea in a sign of growing frustration over stalled negotiations with Washington, even as it seeks sanctions relief and outside aid to tackle food shortages and catalyze economic development.

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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