North Korea says it has no plans for talks with US

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (AP) — North Korea yesterday reiterated it has no immediate plans to resume nuclear negotiations with the United States (US) unless Washington discards what it describes as “hostile” polices toward Pyongyang.

The statement by North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui came after US President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, told reporters in New York on Thursday Trump might seek another summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as an “October surprise” ahead of the US presidential election.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who had lobbied hard to help set up the now-stalled negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang, also expressed hope that Trump and Kim would meet again before the election in a video conference with European leaders on Tuesday.

Kim and Trump have met three times since embarking on their high-stakes nuclear diplomacy in 2018, but negotiations have faltered since their second summit in February last year in Vietnam, where the Americans rejected North Korean demands for major sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear capability.

Kim entered 2020 vowing to bolster his nuclear deterrent in face of “gangster-like” US sanctions and pressure. Choe’s statement followed a series of similar declarations by the North that it would no longer gift Trump with high-profile meetings he could boast of as his foreign policy achievements unless it gets something substantial in return.

“Is it possible to hold dialogue or have any dealings with the US which persists in the hostile policy toward the DPRK in disregard of the agreements already made at the past summit?” Choe said, referring to North Korea by its formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.