Pompeo pushes back after North Korea calls US negotiators 'gangster-like'

North Korea says resolve for denuclearisation may falter but Pompeo lauds progress

North Korea says resolve for denuclearisation may falter but Pompeo lauds progress

Over the weekend North Korea criticized the US after talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, including accusing the United States of a "gangster-like mindset".

The senator's comments come just one day after North Korea's official KCNA news agency released a statement from an unnamed foreign ministry spokesperson which said that "the attitude of the USA was indeed regrettable" during Pompeo's talks with Pyongyang.

Pompeo said "good-faith, productive conversations" took place with North Korea and that the two countries "made progress".

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.

Pompeo met with North Korean official Kim Yong Chul on Friday and Saturday to discuss denuclearization, just weeks after President Donald Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un in Singapore.

Bruce Klingner, a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst and North Korea expert at the Heritage Foundation, said the statement showed that to North Korea, denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula means "global arms control in which it will abandon its arsenal when all other nuclear powers, including the United States, abandon theirs".

North Korea says it is disappointed with the way the US has conducted itself in bilateral discussions, saying that the progress made at last month's historic summit in Singapore is in danger of being eroded.

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.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said on Sunday that the setback in talks between the United States and North Korea could be blamed on China.

"It's certainly a setback and a change of heart and a very different picture coming from the North Korean side".

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday brushed aside North Korea's accusation of "gangster-like" denuclearization demands.

"If those requests were gangster-like, the world is a gangster, because there was a unanimous decision at the UN Security Council about what needs to be achieved", he said.

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.

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". Pompeo is on a trip traveling to North Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Abu Dhabi, and Brussels.

Despite the NBC report and North Korea's statement, Pompeo still claimed the rogue nation is committed to dismantling its nuclear program.

North Korea's statement bashed hopes for a quick deal and is sure to fuel growing skepticism in the US over how serious Kim is about giving up his nuclear arsenal. "But Washington should not allow nuclear talks to be held hostage to peace talks or else there could be peace with a nuclear-armed North Korea indefinitely".

Professor Yang Moo-Jin at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul said Pyongyang's criticism was aimed at driving a wedge between Trump and his top officials.

It could move by one day or two where there will be discussions between the folks responsible for the repatriation of remains.

The North's statement, coming so soon after Pompeo's trip, was sure to fuel growing skepticism in the US over how serious Kim Jong Un is about giving up his nuclear arsenal.

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