March 15 (UPI) — North Korea is considering resuming its nuclear testing program, a senior Pyongyang official said Friday.
Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui said the United States must change its position on North Korean denuclearization in order to continue a moratorium on testing, The New York Times reported.
Choe also said Friday that personal relations between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump are “still good” and the “chemistry is mysteriously wonderful.” She added, though, that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton have created an “atmosphere of hostility and mistrust” that ended negotiations at a summit in Vietnam in February.
“We have no intention to yield to the U.S. demands [at the Hanoi summit] in any form, nor are we willing to engage in negotiations of this kind,” she told reporters at a news conference in Pyongyang, Russian state news agency TASS reported.
The remarks follow reports that North Korea may be preparing for another rocket launch. Recent satellite photographs indicate Pyongyang has rebuilt a rocket launch pad. North Korea had conducted a number of rocket tests before and immediately after Trump took office, but Kim agreed to stop them after new dialogue with the U.S. president.
Choe said Kim now has reservations about continuing negotiations with Trump after the summit failure in Hanoi.
The United States did not immediately respond to the comments. This week, a U.S. representative for North Korea said the U.S. administration would not accept a phased denuclearization, but insisted U.S. and North Korean officials are still closely engaged on the subject.