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North Korea warns the US that talks over denuclearisation could ‘fall apart’

Ross McGuinness
Yahoo News UK

North Korea has warned the US that denuclearisation talks “may fall apart”, it has been reported.

Sources told CNN that a letter from North Korea was delivered directly to US secretary of state Mike Pompeo saying that Kim Jong-un’s government felt the process could not move forward.

They said the letter contained the message that “the US is still not ready to meet expectations in terms of taking a step forward to sign a peace treaty”.

The Korean War of the early-1950s ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty, meaning the US and North Korea are still technically at war.

Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump shake hands at their summit in Singapore in June (Picture: Rex)

The North has long made clear that it sees an official end to the state of war as crucial to lowering tensions on the Korean peninsula.

The US has been reluctant to declare an end to the Korean War until after North Korea abandons its nuclear weapons programme.

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The Washington Post reported on Monday that US president Donald Trump called off a visit to North Korea by Mr Pompeo after the latter received a belligerent letter from a senior North Korean official just hours after the trip was announced last week.

CNN reported that the letter was sent by the former head of North Korea’s spy agency, Kim Yong Chol, but it was not known how it was sent.

The Washington Post said North Korea had been increasingly communicating through its UN mission.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo reportedly received the letter from North Korea (Picture: Rex)

CNN reported that the letter also mentioned that if a compromise could not be reached and the talks crumble, North Korea could resume “nuclear and missile activities”.

On Sunday, North Korea’s state media accused the United States of “double-dealing” and “hatching a criminal plot” but did not mention Mr Pompeo’s canceled visit.

The Washington Post said the exact contents of the message were unclear, but it was sufficiently belligerent that Mr Trump and Mr Pompeo decided to call off the planned trip.

In cancelling the trip, Mr Trump publicly acknowledged for the first time that his effort to get North Korea to denuclearize had stalled since his June 12 summit with Mr Kim in Singapore.

US intelligence and defence officials have repeatedly expressed doubts about North Korea’s willingness to give up its nuclear weapons.

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