Photo by the White House
Kim Jong-un, after talks, appears to have thumped away hopes for a quick denuclearization deal in a sudden rebuke to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, accusing the United States of making “gangster-like” demands.
Pompeo recently wrapped up two days of discussions in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang on Saturday July 7, holding optimism without meeting North Korea’s Supreme Leader, as he has done previously twice. He said the discussions had been productive and conducted in good faith while noting much work is yet ahead. Pompeo and two other U.S. officials said the two countries, still technically at war for 68 years, had formulated groups pertaining to the details of an arrangement.
In a statement broadcasted by North Korea’s Central News Agency pertaining to Pompeo’s visit, the Foreign Ministry of North Korea said the outcome of Pompeo’s discussions with senior official Kim Yong-chol were “very concerning”.
“We had expected that the U.S. side would offer constructive measures that would help build trust based on the spirit of the leaders’ summit … we were also thinking about providing reciprocal measures,” North Korea’s statement read. “However, the attitude and stance the United States showed in the first high-level meeting (between the countries) was no doubt regrettable. Our expectations and hopes were so naive it could be called foolish.”
It said North Korea had raised the issue of formally ending the Korean War, which concluded with an armistice and not a peace treaty, but the United States came up with a variety of “conditions and excuses” to delay this declaration. North Korea’s statement downplayed the significance of the United States suspending its military exercises with South Korea, something boasted by President Trump after the summit as a success.
Criticizing the discussions with Pompeo, however, it carefully avoided attacking Trump personally, stating “we wholly maintain our trust toward President Trump,” but stressed that the District of Columbia must not allow “headwinds” against the “wills of the leaders.” That appeared to be a reference to Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton, a man denigrated by Pyongyang in the past. Pompeo spoke with Trump, Bolton and White House chief of staff John Kelly on Saturday before his second round of meetings with Kim Yong-chol.
The Hermit Kingdom’s statement, coming almost immediately after Pompeo’s trip, was sure to fuel growing skepticism in the U.S. over how serious the Kim regime is about giving up its nuclear arsenal.
On North Korea discussions just concluded, Pompeo remarked: “We raised a full range of issues with them, all the issues that are important to both the United States and Japan.”
Closing, Pompeo said more talks would be needed.