Pompeo brushes off North Korean 'gangster' claim

Pompeo brushes off North Korean 'gangster' claim

Sen. Roy Blunt said on Sunday that President Trump should reconsider his pledge to stop military drills with South Korea following North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's about-face over the weekend in which he accused the US of making "gangster-like" demands.

In a statement released by an unnamed foreign ministry spokesman, Pyongyang accused the United States of betraying the spirit of last month's summit between Donald Trump and Kim by making "one-sided and robber-like" demands on "CVID" - the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of North Korea.

Update at 2000 KST: This article has been amended with the latest developments on Pompeo's visit North Korean and USA officials held a second day of meetings in Pyongyang on Saturday, with both sides saying there several key issues they need to "clarify".

But shortly after he left Pyongyang, North Korea issued an angry statement rejecting what it described as Washington's "gangster-like" demand for rapid nuclear disarmament.

The Trump administration has said it would take between 1 and 2 1/2 years to dismantle North Korea's nuclear program.

Yet the US Secretary of State offered few new details as to how Kim Jong-un's regime would honor its commitment to "denuclearize" in exchange for security guarantees from the United States after briefing the media before flying on to Tokyo.

He admitted "there's still more work to be done" in other areas. But ever since the announcement of that summit, experts on North Korea have warned that Kim was very unlikely to give up his nuclear arsenal altogether, since it is his prime source of leverage against the rest of the world.

Kim did not comment on the issue of denuclearisation, saying only that there "are things I have to clarify".

Nauert said Pompeo's discussions with North Korean officials also included repatriation of American Korean War remains.


"We now have a meeting set up for July 12 - it could move by one day or two - where there will be discussions between the folks responsible for the repatriation of remains".

It says pressure will remain until North Korea denuclearizes, but in statements this week, it redefined the US goal as "the final, fully verified denuclearization" of the country. "It's a very, very unrealistic plan", Sue Mi Terry, Korea an analyst for the Center for Strategic and International Studies and former Central Intelligence Agency analyst, told Morning Edition on Friday, adding that just the process of verifying the full scope of North Korea's nuclear program "takes years, decades". There are signs that North Korea has been expanding some missile manufacturing sites.

Pompeo said his meeting with Kim Yong Chol, a vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, produced progress and they talked "a great deal" about a potential timeline for the denuclearization process.

Pompeo said that in past two decades, US bilateral trade with Vietnam had grown 8,000 percent, and American companies had poured in billions of dollars of investments.

Trump raised the issue when he met with Kim in Singapore and Pompeo also talked about it during his latest visit to Pyongyang.

"I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding", said CNN global affairs analyst Joseph Yun, a former top USA diplomat on North Korea policy.

Nauert declined to characterize the discussions so far, but said, "We expect them to live up to their commitments".

Our correspondent at South Korea's foreign ministry, Lee Ji-won, is on the line for us.

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