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North Korea rethinking nuclear talks, missile ban: reports

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea is considering suspending nuclear talks with the United States and its leader may reconsider a ban on missile testing, a news broadcaster from the Nordic capital reported on Friday to a high-ranking official.

FILE PHOTO: Hyon Song Wol, head of the North Korean art group Samjiyon, takes a photo of Deputy Foreign Minister Choe Son-Hui (C) before the welcoming ceremony of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (not pictured). in the presidential palace in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 1, 2019. Luong Thai Linh / Pool via REUTERS

Following the failure of US President Donald Trump's summit meeting last month and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Northern Nuclear Representative to Russia's TASS said News Agency said leadership has considered dropping talks on denuclearization.

"We have no intention of giving in to US demands (at the Hanoi Summit) in any way, nor are we ready for such negotiations," the agency quoted North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui.

Kim will shortly be making an official announcement about his position on further action by the United States and the North, he added, citing Choe, who held a press conference in the North Korean capital.

Choe also said that Washington threw away a golden opportunity at the summit and warned that Kim might reconsider a moratorium on rocket bursts, the Associated Press news agency added.

The comments contradict the optimism that a US negotiator had shown this week despite the collapse of last month's talks in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.

This meeting crumbled because of differences over US demands for Pyongyang denuclearization and North Korea's call for a drastic reduction in international sanctions imposed on its nuclear and missile tests.

Choe had said after the Hanoi talks that Kim may have lost the commitment to reach an agreement with the United States after seeing the rejection of some sanctions in return for the North, which destroyed the main known atomic complex.

US Special Representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, said this week in Washington that the United States is likely to be able to continue its close engagement, although he did not specify when new talks could take place.

"Diplomacy is still alive a lot," Biegun said on Monday, but did not comment on whether talks had been held since the Summit.

In Beijing, Prime Minister Li Keqiang demanded patience and more dialogue between North Korea and the United States.

"The problem of the peninsula can be described as complicated and long-standing and can not be solved overnight," Li said at an annual press conference on Friday, although his remarks failed to cover the TASS report.

Reporting by Joyce Lee; Letter from Jack Kim; Editing by Darren Schuettler and Clarence Fernandez

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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