High-level talks between the United States and North Korea appeared to hit a snag on Saturday as Pyongyang said a visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had been "regrettable" and accused Washington of making "gangster-like" demands to pressure the country into abandoning its nuclear weapons.
Pompeo, who was carrying out the first meeting between the US and North Korea since Mr. Trump met with Kim Jong Un in Singapore last month, would not reveal any details on the progress he said was made.
His rosy outlook was nearly immediately rejected by North Korea's foreign ministry, which called the USA attitude to the talks "regrettable" and accused the United States of making unilateral demands for denuclearization.
While President Donald Trump's point man for nuclear talks summed up his 27 hours in the North Korean capital as "productive", the regime called the visit "regretful". "There are things that I have to clarify", he said.
"The fact that we're co-operating - and not fighting - is proof that when a country decides to create a brighter future for itself alongside the United States, we follow through on American promises", Pompeo said.
Yet three weeks later, the two sides were still divided on all the issues, including exactly what denuclearization means and how it might be verified.
"So the work that we do, the path toward complete denuclearization, building a relationship between our two countries, is vital for a brighter North Korea and the success that our two presidents demand of us", Pompeo said.
Pompeo said in Tokyo that the United States and its allies remain committed to the goal of a fully verified, final denuclearization of North Korea.
In criticising the talks with Pompeo, however, the North carefully avoided attacking Trump, saying "we wholly maintain our trust toward President Trump", but also that Washington must not allow "headwinds" against the "wills of the leaders".
"It's a broad definition", Pompeo said.
He said the key to Vietnam's rise was post-Vietnam War engagement with the United States, which began in 1985, when the countries started working together to repatriate remains of USA service members lost in Vietnam.
It was the first time he had visited North Korea since the Donald Trump-Kim Jong-un summit.
"We expected the US to bring constructive measures to build confidence in accordance with the spirit of the US-NK Summit", the statement carried by state-run news agency KCNA said.
"The issues the USA side insisted on during the talks were the same cancerous ones that the past US administrations had insisted on", the North Korea's foreign ministry said.
The lawmaker's comments come one-day after North Korea criticized the USA for their push for denuclearization. "But this expectation and hope of ours were so naive as to be gullible".
The next line of the more than 1 200-word statement may have captured the central complaint: "The US side never mentioned the issue of establishing a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, which is essential for defusing tension and preventing a war", an unidentified foreign ministry spokesman said.
The statement, by an unnamed foreign ministry official, was in sharp contrast with the account given by Mr Pompeo as he left North Korea for Japan just hours before.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert tweeted that Pompeo spoke briefly before leaving Pyongyang.
And Pompeo was adamant that those further negotiations would go ahead.
'Kim can afford to play hardball because it's clear to him that Trump, who has already told Americans they can sleep soundly because the threat is now over, badly wants a deal, ' Russel said.