Time to start making North Korea pay for its broken promises

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un left and President Donald Trump shake hands at the conclusion of their meetings at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island in Singapore

South Korea’ Moon says North Korea-U.S. talks ‘on track,’ criticism a ploy

The latest move (or non-move) was the North's failure to show up at the DMZ Thursday for talks on repatriating remains of Americans killed in the Korean War. That was the day Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived for two days of meetings with top North Korean officials, which ended on a sour note after Pyongyang blasted the USA side for issuing a "unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization".

While the summit represented a major thaw in relations, US sanctions on North Korea, among the most stringent in the world, will remain in place until the Kim regime implements "final, fully verified denuclearization", US State Secretary Mike Pompeo said last week.

"Great progress being made", the president said in a tweet that included both a copy of Kim's letter, dated 6 July, and its translation.

It didn't take a long, long time for President Donald Trump to start bestowing gifts on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"The US will at least require North Korea to declare its nuclear weapons programmes", he said.

Meanwhile, it is yet to be seen whether North Korea will show up for the talks a day after the scheduled date. Reports say North Korea is now asking for higher-level talks for Sunday.

But in stark contrast, Pyongyang's take was overwhelmingly negative, with the North warning that the future of the peace process was being jeopardized by "unilateral and gangster-like" USA demands for its nuclear disarmament. Although the top United States diplomat was promised a meeting with the Korean leader, Kim did not meet with Pompeo.

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Moon, the son of North Korean war refugees, has vowed to build on the legacies of liberal predecessors Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun and their so-called Sunshine Policy, which Moon had a hand in building. The return of the soldiers' remains, by contrast, had really nothing to do with the nuclear problem.

The North Korean dictator sent Trump a note referring to him as "Your Excellency" and Trump was so pleased, he posted it on Twitter.

Ahead of the summit in Singapore, North Korean officials sometimes did not turn up to meetings where their USA counterparts were expecting them, causing tension between the two negotiating partners.

"We were ready", one official said.

"Should the headwind begin to blow, it would cause great disappointment not only to the worldwide society aspiring after global peace and security, but also to both the DPRK and the US", said the statement quoting a spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Pyongyang has asked the UN Command Armistice Commission to upgrade the talks to a higher level to include a USA general, South Korea's foreign ministry said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered his aides to "re-explain" to Tokyo the findings of a probe into the whereabouts of missing Japanese nationals suspected to have been abducted by Pyongyang decades ago, according to a South Korean activist.

"There remains a great deal of work to do", he said, "but I think, most importantly, my counterpart, Kim Yong-chol, made a commitment with what President Trump was able to achieve with Chairman Kim, which was: They intend to denuclearize".

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