US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dismissed North Korea’s accusation of a “gangster-like mindset” in denuclearization talks, saying the two nations had productive conversations that will continue in the days ahead.
Pompeo brushed aside the comments Sunday, saying “if those requests were gangster-like, the world is a gangster,” and noting that the UN Security Council has been clear on what North Korea needs to achieve.
He spoke in Tokyo with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts after two days of talks in Pyongyang.
While his talks with North Korean officials were conducted in good faith and they reaffirmed their commitment to abandoning nuclear weapons, he said, the US sanctions against the nation will remain in place.
“We had detailed, substantive conversations about the next steps toward a fully verified and complete denuclearization,” he said.
North Korea slammed what it called the United States’ “gangster-like mindset” in denuclearization talks just hours after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the high-level negotiations as “productive” and insisted progress was made.
Pompeo added, “If they are able to do this, they will be remembered, and Chairman Kim will be remembered as a hero of the Korean people.”
On Saturday, North Korea slammed what it called the US’ “gangster-like mindset” during the talks, according to a report by state media. The accusation came after Pompeo visited Pyongyang and declared that the talks were productive.
“People are going to make stray comments after meetings,” he said of North Korea’s assertion. “If I paid attention to what the press said, I’d go nuts. I am determined to achieve the commitment that President Trump made, and I’m counting on chairman Kim to be determined to follow through on the commitment that he made.”
North Korea, however, poured cold water on the talks, saying the “attitude” of the US was “regrettable” and not in the spirit of the June 12 summit in Singapore between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“We expected the US to bring constructive measures to build confidence in accordance with the spirit of the US-NK Summit,” the statement carried by state-run news agency KCNA said, according to a CNN translation of the Korean version of the statement. “However, the attitude of the US in the first high-level talks held on the 6th and 7th were indeed regrettable.”
“However, the attitude of the US in the first high-level talks held on the 6th and 7th were indeed regrettable.”
The statement added, according to an English-language version of the statement released by KCNA: “The US is fatally mistaken if it went to the extent of regarding that the (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) would be compelled to accept, out of its patience, the demands reflecting its gangster-like mindset.”
The country called the outcome of the discussion “worrisome” and argued that the “cancerous issues” the US delegation raised were the same ones that had “amplified” distrust and the risk of war with past administrations, resulting in previous talks ending in failure.
Still, Pompeo gave assurances Saturday that North Korea is still committed to dismantling their nuclear program despite satellite images analyzed by researchers in the United States as infrastructure improvements to a nuclear facility and the finalizing of a ballistic missile manufacturing site.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters that Pompeo left Kim a letter from Trump. However, contrary to South Korean media reports, Nauert said Pompeo did not leave Kim a CD with the Elton John song “Rocket Man” – a nickname Trump has used to refer to Kim.
CNN’s Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report