North Korea yesterday warned President Donald Trump not to listen to US critics who were disrupting efforts to improve ties, as its leader, Kim Jong Un, made his way across China by train to a second summit with Trump in Vietnam.
The two leaders will meet in Hanoi on Wednesday and Thursday, eight months after their historic summit in Singapore, the first between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader, where they pledged to work toward the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
But their vaguely worded agreement has produced few results and US Democratic senators and US security officials have warned Trump against cutting a deal that would do little to curb North Korea's nuclear ambitions.
The North's KCNA state news agency said such opposition was aimed at derailing the talks.
The Trump administration has pressed the North to give up its nuclear weapons programme, which, combined with its missile capabilities, pose a threat to the United States, before it can expect any concessions.
But a week before his second summit with Kim, Trump signalled a possible softening of that stance, saying he would love to be able to remove sanctions if there was meaningful progress on denuclearisation.
Trump also said he was in no rush and had no pressing schedule for North Korea's denuclearisation, hinting at a more gradual, reciprocal approach, long favoured by Pyongyang. The North also wants security guarantees and a formal end of the 1950-1953 Korean War, which ended in a truce, not a treaty.
KCNA, referring to US fears of the North's weapons, said if this week's talks ended without results, "the US people will never be cleared of the security threats that threw them into panic".