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.

Officials from both countries have said that North Korea asked the United States at the Hanoi talks to lift five rounds of sanctions that have been imposed since May 2016.

American officials are concerned that pulling back from major sanctions would diminish their leverage over North Korea, and at least one official has said that the North would use any new revenue to subsidize its nuclear 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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