By Stefan J. Bos, Special Correspondent Worthy News
Tuesday’s announcement came as a setback for U.S. President Donald Trump, who had been hoping to revive talks on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
Pyongyang also condemned neighbor South Korea for “meddling” in its relationship with Washington. “Explicitly speaking once again, we have no intention to sit face to face with the U.S.,” said Kwon Jong Gun, director-general in charge of U.S. affairs at North Korea’s foreign ministry.
His remarks published by state-run Korean Central News Agency came while U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun arrived in South Korea for a three-day-trip.
Biegun, the U.S. envoy for North Korea, planned discussions in South Korea on easing tensions over the North’s nuclear weapons program.
Kwon Jong Gun also ridiculed “nonsensical” calls by South Korea for revived negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea, saying it has lost its relevance as a mediator.
Despite the diplomatic wrangling, Biegun made clear he would try meeting with officials in South Korea and Japan to discuss the “final, fully verified denuclearization” of North Korea.
President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have met three times since embarking on high-stakes nuclear diplomacy in 2018.
But ties between the United States and North Korea remained tense after the second Trump-Kim summit, held last year in Hanoi, Vietnam. During those talks, the U.S. rejected North Korean demands for significant sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear capability.
The latest standoff appeared to diminish the chances of a breakthrough ahead of the American presidential elections in November.
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