North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s bromance with U.S. President Donald Trump may be on its last legs, as an end-of-year deadline set by Kim for progress fast approaches.
One of the North’s former top nuclear envoys said in a statement Monday that Pyongyang was no longer interested in holding another summit with the U.S. if the North did not receive anything in return.
The statement by Kim Kye Gwan, who currently serves as a top adviser to the North Korean Foreign Ministry, came after Trump used a tweet Sunday to urge Kim Jong Un to “act quickly” to reach a nuclear deal with the United States. Trump’s tweet, which was addressed to “Mr. Chairman” and included the sign-off “See you soon!” was widely seen as an entreaty for a third summit with Kim Jong Un.
Kim and Trump have met three times. Their first meeting was at an official summit in Singapore in June last year, with a second one in February this year in Hanoi. In late June, the two leaders also met at the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas.
But instead of welcoming the idea of a third summit, Kim Kye Gwan used the statement carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency to repeat Pyongyang’s stance that Washington must first drop its “hostile policy” against the North.
He claimed the two previous summits with the U.S. had ended up benefiting Washington only.
“We are no longer interested in such talks that bring nothing to us,” Kim Kye Gwan said in the statement.
“As we have got nothing in return, we will no longer gift the U.S. president with something he can boast of, but get compensation for the successes that President Trump is proud of as his administrative achievements,” he added.
Senior North Korean officials have repeatedly criticized the U.S. over its position in the talks, with former spy chief Kim Yong Chol blasting Washington’s “delaying tactics” late last month and warning of a failure to heed Kim Jong Un’s deadline for a “bold decision” by the year’s end.
Nuclear negotiations between the U.S. and the North have effectively been deadlocked since working-level talks early last month broke off in disagreement over a way forward.