North Korea: Mike Pompeo rejects 'gangster-like' accusation

North Korea says it won’t bow down to “gangster-like” U.S. on denuclearization

Pompeo acknowledged at a news conference in Tokyo on Sunday that a peace treaty, security assurances for North Korea and denuclearization should be pursued in parallel, but it's the last item that has been the clear focus of U.S. efforts and its overriding goal: The elimination of North Korea's nuclear weapons in a way that can be verified by outside experts. 'If I paid attention to the press, I'd go nuts'.

Pompeo said he had pushed North Korea on a promise to destroy a missile engine test site.

President Donald Trump voiced confidence Monday that North Korea's leader would "honor" his commitment to denuclearize, despite Pyongyang's accusation that the U.S.is making "gangster-like" demands in negotiations. "The issues the USA side insisted on at the talks are all roots of troubles, which the previous administrations also had insisted on to disrupt the dialogue processes, stoke the distrust and increase the danger of war".

Trade between China and North Korea grew nearly 40% in the first quarter.

The comments came after Pompeo had earlier Sunday in Tokyo brushed aside North Korea's accusation that the US was making "gangster-like" denuclearization demands of the North.

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Pompeo later dismissed those comments, saying the two sides "made progress" and that talks will continue.

"The statement was to my ear, in a way, much more gentle and careful than I have heard from the North Koreans on any number of occasions over more than two decades", Gallucci said during the call with reporters organized by 38 North.

Pompeo was in Vietnam's capital to meet with the Vietnamese leadership and discuss North Korea following two days of frosty talks in Pyongyang aimed at persuading leader Kim Jong Un to give up nuclear weapons.

Pompeo also told Kono he had raised in the talks in Pyongyang, which ended Saturday, the issue of Japanese abducted by North Korea, a major sticking point for Japan in its relations with North Korea. "But this expectation and hope of ours were so naive as to be gullible". He and the head of the North Korean negotiating team, Kim Yong Chol, cracked jokes during a working dinner, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

"I am convinced that he understands the commitment he made, and I am hopeful we will find a path forward to achieve the commitment that Chairman Kim himself made personally to President (Donald) Trump, and the world, in a signed agreement". He further said he got no apparent push-back during the talks themselves.

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"I think there is a fundamental misunderstanding", said CNN global affairs analyst Joseph Yun, a former top United States diplomat on North Korea policy.

Critics say the Trump administration already has weakened its hand against a team of seasoned North Korean negotiators by agreeing to the unprecedented summit, which has been a longtime goal in Pyongyang, and by suspending joint military exercises with South Korea that are hated by the North.

After he met Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Taro Kono, Pompeo said he was in Tokyo to discuss the US alliance with Japan and maintaining "maximum pressure" on North Korea, an expression Trump's administration had backed away from after the Singapore summit.

"I am determined to achieve the commitment that President Trump made".

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