Russian Federation confirms Putin-Kim talks for 'second half of April'

Russian Federation confirms Putin-Kim talks for 'second half of April'

"I am afraid that, if Pompeo engages in the talks again, the table will be lousy once again and the talks will become entangled", Kwon said.

A senior Foreign Ministry official told KCNA that whenever Pompeo "pokes his nose in, talks between the two countries go wrong without any results even from the point close to success".

Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to the United Nations Jang Il Hun, right, is joined by councilor Kwon Jong Gun as he speaks during a new conference, July 28, 2015, at the DPRK mission in NY.

Mr Kim said "the completion of the development of the weapon system serves as an event of very weighty significance in increasing the combat power" of the North Korean army, according to KCNA.

Kim indicated, however, that he would in the meantime maintain his self-imposed moratorium on nuclear tests and long-range missile launches and he appears to be standing by that vow.

North Korea wants an easing of sanctions choking its moribund economy in return for disarmament steps but Trump said Pyongyang was offering far too little to warrant ending the economic squeeze.

With Russia's Vladimir Putin set for his first talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un this month, Moscow is eyeing a major role in yet another global flashpoint.

"We are aware of the report", the spokesperson said via email on April 18.

The US believes the component testing was most likely motivated by Kim deciding to send a message to the US that he still had a test capability without engaging in a major provocation, the official said.

Instead, the North has carried out smaller provocations.

But KCNA did not specify what the newly developed weapon was, prompting United States and South Korean intelligence authorities to pore over data to determine what the test was about.

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Pyongyang North Korea in July 2018.
Korean Central News Agency
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Pyongyang North Korea in July 2018. Korean Central News Agency

Meanwhile, two senior USA officials - presidential advisor Fiona Hill and special envoy for North Korea Stephen Biegun - were in Moscow this week for talks with Russian officials.

The meeting comes almost two months after President Donald Trump walked away from a summit in Hanoi with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as the United States presses for the authoritarian state to eliminate its nuclear program. The penalties were a major factor in the February 28 collapse of his summit in Vietnam with Trump, whose administration wants the regime to make greater disarmament commitments before it gets relief.

Kim Dong-yub, an analyst from Seoul's Institute for Far Eastern Studies, said North Korea's descriptions of the test show the weapon is possibly a newly developed cruise missile.

Two earlier summits between Kim and Trump failed to reach an agreement on a de-nuclearisation deal. Kim has only offered limited steps toward denuclearization.

"I don't have the details; I just haven't been chasing it, there's been a few other priorities, so that'd give you kind of a sense of where it ranks", acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said before talks at the Pentagon with his Japanese counterpart Takeshi Iwaya.

A North Korean official said last month that Kim is considering resuming missile tests and pulling out of the talks with the United States.

Japan has also advocated a tough approach to the North in contrast to South Korea, which has pushed for a step-by-step approach that would lift some worldwide sanctions as incentives.

North Korean media introduced the tests as tactical guided weapons, implying that the weapons may be for battlefield purposes, not posing actual threats on the US mainland.

On Thursday, North Korea said it had test-fired a new type of "tactical guided weapon", its first such test in almost half a year, and demanded that Pompeo be excluded from future negotiations.

It isn't clear how Trump will respond to North Korea's latest test.

Kim said last week said the breakdown in talks risked reviving tensions and he gave a year-end deadline for the United States to change its attitude.

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