Countries remain at odds

After talks, NKorea accuses United States of ‘gangster-like’ moves

PYONGYANG, North Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has delivered a dose of harsh reality to Donald Trump, bashing hopes for a quick denuclearization deal in a pointed rebuke to the president’s top envoy while accusing the U.S. of making “gangster-like” demands.

After the historic U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore, Trump declared the North was no longer a threat and would hand over the remains of Americans killed during the Korean War. Now, three weeks later, the two sides were still at odds on all issues, including exactly what denuclearization means and how it might be verified, after a third visit to Pyongyang by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. And, the promised remains have yet to be delivered.

Pompeo wrapped up two days of talks in the North Korean capital on Saturday on an optimistic note even without meeting Kim Jong Un, as he had on his previous two trips. He said his discussions had been productive and conducted in good faith, but he allowed that much more work needed to be done. And, he and other U.S. officials said the two countries, still technically at war after the 1950-53 Korean War, had set up working groups to deal with details of an agreement.

Pompeo said he had won commitments for new discussions on denuclearization and announced a Thursday meeting between U.S. and North Korean military officials on the repatriation of the remains. But in a harsh response issued just hours after Pompeo arrived in Tokyo, the North blasted the discussions, saying the visit had been “regrettable” and that Washington’s “gangster-like” demands were aimed at forcing it to abandon nuclear weapons.