N Korea pins hopes on Trump, but casts doubt on future talks

Senior foreign ministry official praises US president's 'bold' approach while pressing Washington to drop sanctions.

    Pyongyang has complained that the US has 'done nothing' to implement the promises made from the historic summit between Trump and Kim in Singapore last year [Kevin Lim/EPA via Straits Times]
    Pyongyang has complained that the US has 'done nothing' to implement the promises made from the historic summit between Trump and Kim in Singapore last year [Kevin Lim/EPA via Straits Times]

    North Korea on Friday praised US President Donald Trump as "different from his predecessors" as well as "wise" and "bold", even as it cast doubt on prospects for a future summit.

    Kim Kye Gwan, an adviser to North Korea's foreign ministry, described the idea of holding a new summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as "highly topical these days in the US", according to a statement published through the North's official news agency KCNA.

    "I came to know that President Trump is different from his predecessors in political sense and decision" in his approach towards North Korea, "so I would like to place my hope on President Trump's wise option and bold decision," Kim was quoted as saying.

    Past meetings between United States and North Korean leaders - in Singapore in 2018, in Hanoi in February and at the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea in June -  had served as "historic occasions" for the leaders to "express their political will to put an end" to the hostile relations between the two countries, the foreign ministry official said.

    But he complained that Washington had "done nothing" to implement the joint statement" from the first summit.

    The official also criticised the joint military drills between the US and South Korea, as well as strengthened sanctions and pressure on North Korea, insisting the North had made "sincere efforts" to build trust.

    "It is hard reality that politicians in Washington are obsessed with 'nuclear disarmament-first' assertion," he said, describing the view that tough sanctions would force Pyongyang to open dialogue as "twisted".

    Negotiations aimed at dismantling North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes have stalled since the failed second summit between Trump and Kim in February.

    Pyongyang has said it is willing to restart working-level talks, but no date or location has been set.

    Trump said on Monday that he would like to know the probable results from a third summit with Kim before agreeing to hold it.

    SOURCE: News agencies