0719 GMT December 11, 2018
US President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal is a major setback to US negotiating credibility and will complicate efforts to reach an agreement with Pyongyang over its own more advanced weapons program, analysts say.
Washington is demanding that North Korea dismantle its nuclear weapons program.
Trump is set to hold a much-anticipated and unprecedented summit with North Korean leader in the coming weeks to negotiate over Pyongyang's arsenal, after it last year carried out by far its most powerful nuclear test to date and launched missiles capable of reaching the US mainland.
But the US president Tuesday pulled Washington out of the 2015 accord with Teheran, pouring scorn on the "disastrous" agreement and describing it an "embarrassment" to the United States–although European signatories and the IAEA say Iran has complied with its obligations.
America's top diplomat Mike Pompeo held meetings with senior North Korean officials in Pyongyang Wednesday.
Pompeo was dispatched on an unannounced visit–his second in weeks, but first as secretary of state—to advance preparations for Donald Trump's unprecedented meeting with Kim Jong-un over North Korea's nuclear arsenal.
Trump said Pompeo had a "good meeting" with Kim and that a date and place had been finalized for the summit, a historic encounter called to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Antony Blinken, who was deputy secretary of state under Barack Obama, said the White House move "makes getting to yes with North Korea that much more challenging".
"Why would Kim ... believe any commitments President Trump makes when he arbitrarily tears up an agreement with which the other party is complying?" he asked on Twitter.
Former CIA director John Brennan said Trump's "madness" had undermined global confidence in US commitments, alienated our closest allies and gave North Korea more reason to keep its nukes.
Pyongyang was concerned about the sustainability of a deal, said Yonsei University professor John Delury.
But he added: "They'd be worried less about Trump pulling out of a deal than his successor."
"North Korea has been fully aware of the risks of the US walking away from any deal whenever its government changes hands," Koh Yu-hwan of Dongguk University told AFP.
"In order to hedge against this eventuality, Kim Jong Un met [Chinese President] Xi Jinping twice to obtain a firmer security guarantee from China before he enters a deal with the US."
And Pyongyang wanted wider assurances, he added.
According to China's official Xinhua news agency, Kim told Xi that "relevant parties" should "abolish their hostile policies and remove security threats against the DPRK".
"This means the North is seeking a global commitment to a deal with the US to prevent the US from unilaterally rolling it back," Koh told AFP.
AFP contributed to the above story.