US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo brushed off North Korean charges that he used “gangster-like” diplomacy in negotiations in Pyongyang, saying on Sunday that he will keep pursuing denuclearization talks, Reuters reports.
At a news conference in Tokyo after meeting his Japanese and South Korean counterparts, Pompeo admitted that there is still a lot of work to do, but said he is confident North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will stick to a commitment made last month to abandon nuclear weapons, the report said.
“When we spoke to them about denuclearization, they did not push back,” Pompeo told reporters after two days of talks in Pyongyang that ended on Saturday.
“The road ahead will be difficult and challenging and we know that critics will try to minimize the work that we’ve achieved.”
The comments came after North Korea said on Saturday that the US side came up with “unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization” and that the call for complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization runs “counter to the spirit of the Singapore summit” between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.
The talks “brought us in a dangerous situation where we may be shaken in our unshakable will for denuclearization, rather than consolidating trust,” Pyongyang said in a statement.
The statement, carried by the official KCNA news agency, was released soon after Pompeo left Pyongyang, raising questions about the future of the US-North Korea nuclear talks.
“That was a fairly serious insult directed against Pompeo,” Christopher Hill, who formerly served as US ambassador to South Korea and lead negotiator with North Korea, told Reuters.
At a summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore last month, Kim made a broad commitment to “work toward denuclearization” but did not give details on how or when he would dismantle North Korea’s nuclear program.
Trump offered security guarantees to Pyongyang and pledged to suspend the large-scale military drills with South Korea.
Leaked US intelligence findings have concluded that North Korea does not intend to give up its nuclear program completely.
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