U.S., N. Korea top en­voys swap small talk, big threats

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Nation & World - By Matthew Lee As­so­ci­ated Press

SIN­GA­PORE — Roller­coaster nu­clear diplo­macy be­tween the United States and North Korea hit highs and lows Satur­day as the coun­tries’ top diplo­mats traded po­lite words and barbs, leav­ing ef­forts to rid the North of its atomic weapons at an un­cer­tain junc­ture.

At a se­cu­rity con­fer­ence in Sin­ga­pore, Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo ac­cused North Korea and other coun­tries, in­clud­ing Rus­sia, of con­tin­u­ing to vi­o­late U.N. sanc­tions aimed at press­ing Py­ongyang to give up its nu­clear arse­nal. But at the same time, he over­saw the han­dover of a let­ter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un from Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and ex­changed pleas­antries with the North’s top diplo­mat.

North Korean For­eign Min­is­ter Ri Yong Ho, mean­while, greeted Pom­peo with a smile, but then de­liv­ered a scathing at­tack on the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion for ap­proach­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tion poorly by in­sist­ing on sanc­tions en­force­ment.

Ri said North Korea would not be forced into act­ing uni­lat­er­ally and de­manded that the U.S. un­der­take “con­fi­dence build­ing” mea­sures if the ne­go­ti­a­tion was to be suc­cess­ful.

Af­ter Pom­peo warned anew that no sanc­tions would be lifted un­til North Korea fully and fi­nally de­nu­cle­arizes, Ri told the an­nual ASEAN Re­gional Fo­rum that the North would not be bul­lied into con­ces­sions.

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