North Korea Threatens to Scuttle Talks With the U.S. and Resume Tests – The New York Times

North Korea insisted, as it has before, on moving in phases. In Hanoi, Mr. Kim offered to dismantle the plutonium, uranium-enrichment and other facilities at its Yongbyon site, north of Pyongyang, and demanded that Washington in return lift crucial sanctions that have been imposed on the North since 2016.

Mr. Trump rejected the offer, demanding more substantial steps toward denuclearization. North Korea is widely believed to run at least one other uranium-enrichment plant outside Yongbyon, as well as keeping other elements of its nuclear program in secret locations around the mountainous country.

United States officials said the North essentially demanded the lifting of all key sanctions at the Hanoi talks, while North Korea said it only wanted the removal of sanctions that affected its civilian economy.

American officials fear that an early lifting of sanctions would end up subsidizing the North’s weapons program. United Nations sanctions currently ban all of the North’s key exports, including coal, and drastically cut back its fuel imports.

Mr. Kim took a 65-hour train ride to meet Mr. Trump in Hanoi, and it was seen as a major embarrassment for him to return home without badly needed sanctions relief.

By avoiding direct criticism of Mr. Trump and blaming the Hanoi talks’ breakdown mainly on his aides, Ms. Choe appeared to signal that North Korea still hoped Mr. Trump might soften Washington’s position.

But since the Hanoi talks, analysts have feared that North Korea might resume weapons tests in a bid to gain more leverage, and Ms. Choe’s warnings on Friday could be a sign that North Korea is preparing to move in that direction.

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