Mike Pompeo dismisses North Korea's 'gangster' comments, says talks are going well

Geraldine Edwards
July 9, 2018

The North Korean statement contradicted remarks made by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said just hours after departing North Korea that the two countries had made progress on several key issues.

United States negotiators and their North Korean counterparts discussed the idea of Pyongyang making a full declaration of its weapons of mass destruction stockpiles and setting a timeline for giving them up, Pompeo said on Saturday.

Pompeo downplayed a harshly critical North Korean statement after the talks in which the country's foreign ministry bashed hopes for a quick deal and attacked the United States for making unreasonable and extortionate demands aimed at forcing it to abandon nuclear weapons.

Earlier, Pompeo and Kim Yong-chol both said they needed clarity on the parameters of an agreement to denuclearise the Korean peninsula that Trump and the North Korean leader had agreed to in Singapore.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has delivered a dose of harsh reality to Donald Trump, bashing hopes for a quick denuclearization deal in a pointed rebuke to the president's top envoy while accusing the USA of making "gangster-like" demands.

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Despite the NBC report and North Korea's statement, Pompeo still claimed the rogue nation is committed to dismantling its nuclear program. If I paid attention to what the press said, I'd go nuts, and I refuse to do that.

"I think we made progress in every element of our discussions", he said, according to a pool report from usa reporters who accompanied him to Pyongyang. He later said there was progress in talks, including on setting a timeline for denuclearization, but also acknowledged much work remained to be done.

North Korea's unnerving starts, stops and tough talk - such as calling the United States "gangster-like" in nuke negotiations - is what the Trump team must expect to deal with from the hermit kingdom, and the only path to denuclearization, experts said. He said: "I'm counting on Chairman Kim to be determined to follow through on the commitment that he made. I really believe that he sees a different future for North Korea", Trump told reporters. He also discussed the repatriation of the remains of U.S. soldiers missing from the 1950-'53 Korean War.

"One thing I wouldn't give up is presence in South Korea or the ability to interact with our South Korean allies", Blunt said.

The tough statement comes hours after Pompeo said progress with North Korea had been made "on nearly all of the central issues" including denuclearisation, although he insisted that work still needed to be done.

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Unlike his previous visits, which have been one-day affairs during which he has met with Kim Jong Un, Pompeo spent the night at a government guesthouse in Pyongyang and did not see the North Korean leader, although US officials had suggested such a meeting was expected.

President Donald Trump was accused of forcing the North Korea summit "for cheap headlines" by MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, who said POTUS had made himself "look like a fool". The report said Trump signed the CD and instructed Pompeo to deliver it with the personal letter.

CVID stands for the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of the North's nuclear program, an oft-cited demand by Washington for Pyongyang.

Pyongyang's statement came despite Pompeo saying that he had "many hours of productive conversations" with the North, adding that "we made progress on nearly all of the central issues".

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

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"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.

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