North Koreans did not show up at US war dead talks

Since the summit in Singapore, there has been increasing scrutiny of the agreement reached by Trump and Kim, with some experts suggesting that North Korea did not really intend to give up its nuclear weapons.

The North's state media normally lead their television bulletins and front pages with Kim's doings, but a seven-day absence from the headlines, including during Pompeo's visit, had prompted speculation on his whereabouts among Korea-watchers. But it didn't commence at the scheduled time as North Korean officials didn't show up.

North Korea proposed to reschedule the meeting for Sunday.

"North Korea apparently wants a USA general to appear at the table to quickly finalize the repatriation issue", a source told Yonhap.

Pompeo insisted the talks were making progress but as soon as he left, the North's foreign ministry berated him over his "unilateral and gangster-like" demands and for offering no constructive steps on the USA side.

The discussions have tentatively resulted in a scheduled discussion for Sunday.

The American described the talks as "productive", but did not meet with Mr Kim.

In another development on Thursday, the USA accused North Korea of violating a United Nations sanctions cap on refined oil products. His top deputy, who took the meeting in Kim's absence, said his boss was out of town without revealing what was more important than a sit-down with the top US diplomat. "If those requests were gangster-like, the world is a gangster, because there was a unanimous decision at the UN Security Council about what needs to be achieved", he told reporters.

There is speculation that North Korea may also want payment for the return of the remains, our correspondent adds.

The USFK sent 100 wooden cases to the truce village of Panmunjeom to receive the remains last month, and also has 158 coffins ready at a base in Pyeongtaek to take the remains back to the U.S.

Other speculation is that North Korea was discomforted with the way it was portrayed by the USA media _ as trying to make money from the war remains. The Pentagon did not confirm this claim.

The Department of Defense estimates that North Korea is holding about 200 sets of remains from some 5,300 American military personnel believed missing in the country.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.



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