Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Pompeo shrugs off North Korea's 'gangster' rebuke

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to members of the media at Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang North Korea Calls Talks 'Regrettable' After U.S. Says Progress Was Made
Glenn Montgomery | 10 July, 2018, 08:44

Asked about the possibility of Trump making a deal that would eliminate long-range missiles that threaten the United States as part of these first steps, Wit and Gallucci both said such a move would be a welcome step - despite concerns from US allies Japan and South Korea. "If I paid attention to the press, I'd go nuts and I refuse to do that".

Pompeo said he had pushed North Korea on a promise to destroy a missile engine test site.

President Donald Trump this morning tweeted about his "confidence" that Kim Jong Un will honor the agreement they made about denuclearization.

"We had expected that the USA side would offer constructive measures that would help build trust based on the spirit of the leaders' summit ..."

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a Business Community Reception at the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam, July 8, 2018.

As they began their talks on Saturday, Kim Yong Chol alluded to the fact that Pompeo and his delegation had stayed overnight in Pyongyang.

North Korea's latest comments were a reminder of the difficulties that previous US administrations had negotiating with the reclusive state.

So it came as some surprise when North Korea's state news agency fired out a late-night missive blasting the talks, warning that "we may be shaken in our unshakeable will for denuclearization, rather than consolidating trust".

Pompeo dismissed the stinging North Korean commentary and insisted that he made progress during his talks Friday and Saturday.

"Their statement is typical North Korean negotiating style", Duyeon Kim, a visiting fellow at the Korean Peninsula Future Forum in Seoul, said in an email.

The North has declared Mr Trump's moves as "gangster-like" since the summit between the two leaders.

However, the president has since renewed sanctions on North Korea, while United States intelligence officials have said there is evidence North Korea continues to upgrade the infrastructure for its nuclear and missile programmes. "Today we have a strong relationship", Pompeo said on Twitter. "But expectation and hope of ours were so naive as to be foolish", read the statement.

"The North Koreans are going to use that to their advantage".

Speaking in Tokyo after meeting with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts, Pompeo said Sunday that denuclearization will be hard and that much work remains.

In his first remarks about challenging diplomatic talks held at the weekend that sowed fresh doubts over North Korea's willingness to give up its nuclear arsenal, Trump said China "may be exerting negative pressure" in reaction to punitive USA tariffs on Chinese goods.

"I would like to think that is not what's on American minds, the president and the secretary of state", he added.

"I am convinced that he understands the commitment he made, and I am hopeful we will find a path forward to achieve the commitment that Chairman Kim himself made personally to President (Donald) Trump, and the world, in a signed agreement".

Last month, Kim agreed to "work towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula" in return for security guarantees and an end to a unsafe stand-off with United States forces.

"The North is trying to get an upper hand in further negotiations", Yang said.

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