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Seoul says US, N. Korea appear to remain apart in nuclear negotiations

The United States and North Korea appear to remain apart in their nuclear negotiations, Seoul's unification ministry said Friday, following a senior North Korean official's warning that Pyongyang could resume insults against US President Donald Trump.

On Thursday, North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui issued a statement slamming Trump for hinting at the possibility of using military force against Pyongyang and referring to leader Kim Jong-un as "rocket man" for the first time since last year's historic summit between the two leaders.


"Looking at the series of statements recently issued (by North Korea), it seems like the US and North Korea still have differences in positions regarding the nuclear negotiations," the ministry's deputy spokesperson Kim Eun-han told a regular briefing.

Trump's "military force" remarks came after North Korea warned the US to meet an end-of-year deadline for coming up with a new negotiating proposal while suggesting it could resume testing of long-range missiles and nuclear weapons if the deadline is missed.

On Wednesday, Pak Jong-chon, chief of the General Staff of the North's Korean People's Army, also issued a separate statement, saying that Pyongyang will take "prompt corresponding action at any level" if the US uses force against the North.

The series of statements came amid little progress in denuclearization negotiations between the US and North Korea since the collapse of the second Trump-Kim summit in February.

The two sides held their last working-level talks in Stockholm in October, but the meeting broke down again, with Pyongyang accusing Washington of failing to come up with a new proposal. (Yonhap)