Pompeo shrugs off 'gangster' rebuke from North Korea

Glen Norman
July 10, 2018

North Korea's statement bashed hopes for a quick deal and is sure to fuel growing skepticism in the US over how serious Kim is about giving up his nuclear arsenal.

Mr Pompeo said there was still a lot of work to do, but he was confident the North Korean leader would stick to a commitment to abandon nuclear weapons he made during a summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore last month.

In Tokyo on Sunday, Pompeo rejected the suggestion the two sides were far apart, describing North Korean officials as more receptive to U.S. demands behind closed doors.

There was little optimism ahead of Mike Pompeo's trip to Pyongyang last week, and little clarity on exactly what he was expected to come away with.

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


Pompeo was under increased pressure to show progress after reports that Kim expanded his nuclear weapons production in the run up the Singapore summit.

"The US attitude and positions at the high-level talks on Friday and Saturday were extremely regrettable", the North's Foreign Ministry said in a statement, the South's Yonhap reported.

"I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake".

Mr Pompeo said Vietnam's experience since the normalisation of relations with the U.S. in 1995 should be proof for North Korea that prosperity and partnership with the United States is possible after decades of conflict and mistrust. "But this expectation and hope of ours was so naive as to be gullible", the statement said.

The senator's comments come just one day after North Korea's official KCNA news agency released a statement from an unnamed foreign ministry spokesperson which said that "the attitude of the United States was indeed regrettable" during Pompeo's talks with Pyongyang.


U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raised the issue of a detained American man of Vietnamese descent during meetings with senior Vietnamese officials in Hanoi on Monday, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman said.

"It's certainly a setback and a change of heart and a very different picture coming from the North Korean side".

Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said on Twitter there was a danger of military action because Trump might now say he had tried diplomacy but was betrayed by Kim.

"The U.S. -N.K. talks held in Pyongyang this time marked the first step in a journey towards denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", Kim Eui-keum, a presidential spokesman, told reporters Sunday. Why should the North Koreans make concessions to one of Trump's aides given the president's record of undercutting them?'

Robert Gallucci, who led the U.S in direct talks with North Korea beginning in mid-1993, said that although the seemingly harsh rhetoric out of Pyongyang contrasted with Washington's view of the talks, he did not believe it would be a barrier to continued talks.


A former top USA diplomat for Asia, Daniel Russel, said the setback was to be expected and warned Trump he is engaged in a long negotiation that would not produce easy quick, made for television results that the president likely wants.

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