TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – North Korea no longer wants US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo involved in nuclear talks, calling for someone who “is more careful and mature in communicating”, state media said on Thursday.
The official KCNA news agency also said, quoting Kwon Jong Gun, a senior official at the North’s foreign ministry, that “no one can predict” the situation on the Korean peninsula if the United States does not abandon the “root cause” that compelled Pyongyang to develop its nuclear programme, without elaborating, according to Reuters.
During the second summit between US President Donald Trump and the North’s leader Kim Jong-un, which was held in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, in February, Kim proposed a deal that included an offer to dismantle the Yongbyon complex.
Trump, however, walked away from the summit, claiming that Kim had insisted on the removal of all sanctions on North Korea in return. Pyongyang rejected that account, stressing that it had only asked for a partial lifting of the bans.
Pyongyang has suspended its nuclear and missile testing in a unilateral goodwill gesture. But diplomacy with the US has effectively stopped following the collapse of the Hanoi summit.
A senior North Korean official warned in March that Kim might reconsider the test freeze unless Washington made concessions of its own.
Kim said last week that the failure in Hanoi raised the risks of reviving tensions, saying he would wait “till the end of this year” for Washington to decide to be more flexible.
Mike Pompeo, however, rejected that demand on Monday. Pompeo said Kim should keep his promise to give up his nuclear weapons before then.