North Korea says talks with Pompeo were 'regrettable'

Cheryl Sanders
July 9, 2018

After the meeting, North Korean officials said their talks with Pompeo had been "regrettable" and said Pompeo made "one-sided and robber-like" demands regarding denuclearization.

Speaking alongside his South Korean and Japanese counterparts, Pompeo said, "While we are encouraged by the progress of these talks, progress alone does not justify the relaxation of the existing sanctions regime".

Meanwhile, North Korea lashed out at the United States shortly after Pompeo left, saying the top USA diplomat presented a "unilateral and gangster-like" demand for "complete, verifiable and irreversible" denuclearization, a longstanding U.S. goal.

The Trump-Kim summit in Singapore was roundly criticized by experts because it failed to nail down concrete steps or a time line to have the North abandon all its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, and because the two leaders merely agreed to work toward the "denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".

At the same time the U.S. state department was forced to deny reports Mr Pompeo gave Kim Jong Un a CD of Elton John's Rocket Man - a playful reference to Donald Trump's nickname for the North Korean leader.

That appeared to be a reference to Trump's national security adviser John Bolton, a prominent North Korea hawk who has been vilified by Pyongyang in the past. "If I paid attention to the press, I'd go nuts".

Indeed, the wording of North Korea's statement may also suggest that it viewed the four items in the Trump-Kim agreement as a schedule.

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".

But it seems, the expert said, that the USA insisted on concrete steps toward denuclearization before the war is declared over, which Pyongyang called a "gangster-like", unilateral demand.

"If those requests were gangster-like then the world is a gangster, because it was a unanimous decision at the UNSC about what needs to be achieved", he added, referring to the United Nations Security Council's crippling sanctions regime against the North. The larger question is whether North Korea really intends to surrender its nuclear weapons entirely.

"The fact that we're co-operating - and not fighting - is proof that when a country decides to create a brighter future for itself alongside the United States, we follow through on American promises", Pompeo said.

He claimed that "When we spoke to them about denuclearization, they did not push back" but admitted the "road ahead will be hard and challenging".

'At this point, even to get the North Koreans to follow through with the return of Korean War-era MIA remains, would feel like a big win for Pompeo, even though it wouldn't affect the nuclear threat'.

Pompeo sought to dispel suggestions that the Trump administration has backed down from demanding the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of the North's nuclear weapons. It wasn't my language, it was the language of Chairman Kim, he committed to complete denuclearisation.

"I see China's hands all over this", said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, saying he thought the Chinese were "pulling back" North Korea because of the US-China trade dispute. President Trump believes your country can replicate this path.

Pompeo said the two sides agreed to hold discussions on July 12 on the repatriation of remains of Americans killed in the 1950-53 Korean War, and also discussed "modalities" for the destruction of a missile engine testing facility.

Other reports by iNewsToday