Thursday 15 November 2018

North Korea accuses US of 'gangster' tactics in denuclearisation talks

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono and South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung Wha shake hands at a meeting in Tokyo. Photo: Reuters
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono and South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung Wha shake hands at a meeting in Tokyo. Photo: Reuters

Rob Crilly

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has hit back at North Korean complaints that he used "gangster-like" diplomacy in negotiations in Pyongyang, saying he would continue to pursue the denuclearisation of North Korea.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has hit back at North Korean complaints that he used "gangster-like" diplomacy in negotiations in Pyongyang, saying he would continue to pursue the denuclearisation of North Korea.

"If those requests were gangster-like... the world is a gangster," he said, after meeting his Japanese and South Korean counterparts yesterday. "There was a unanimous decision at the UN Security Council about what needs to be achieved."

However, the back and forth has increased concerns that Pyongyang and Washington remain far apart on the next steps after Donald Trump met Kim Jong-un in Singapore last month.

Mr Pompeo travelled to North Korea for negotiations that ended on Saturday.

Afterwards, a spokesman for its foreign ministry said the talks had been "very concerning", betrayed the spirit of the Singapore summit and included a "unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearisation".

The statement was carried by the official KCNA news agency soon after Mr Pompeo left the country, raising questions about the future of the talks in which he is trying to persuade North Korea to give up a nuclear weapons programme that threatens the US.

But Mr Pompeo said officials had not raised objections during the meeting.

"When we spoke to them about denuclearisation, they did not push back," Mr Pompeo said yesterday. "The road ahead will be difficult and challenging and we know that critics will try to minimise the work that we've achieved."

Mr Pompeo said he did not meet Mr Kim on his latest visit to Pyongyang, as he had done twice before, and he had not expected to. The White House said before the trip that he would meet Mr Kim.

Later, Mr Pompeo spoke in Vietnam where he urged North Korea to follow the example of Hanoi in pursuing a path to prosperity by normalising relations with Washington.

"If they are able to do this, they will be remembered, and Chairman Kim will be remembered as a hero of the Korean people," he said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe then praised Mr Pompeo as he visited Toyko.

"I would like to pay my tribute to the strong leadership you have demonstrated in negotiating with North Korea," Mr Abe told Mr Pompeo. "This really shows the unwavering bond of the Japan-US alliance."

Telegraph.co.uk

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