Pompeo says nothing’s changed on North Korea talks – ‘It’ll be my team’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said U.S. diplomatic efforts will continue toward the goal of denuclearization of North Korea, a day after a North Korean official said it no longer wanted to deal with him in talks.

“Nothing has changed. We’ll continue to work to negotiate; still in charge of the team. President Trump’s obviously in charge of the overall effort, but it’ll be my team,” Pompeo told reporters in Washington.

He added that U.S. diplomats led by Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun would continue efforts to achieve North Korea’s denuclearization, which he said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un committed to last June.

“I am convinced we will have a real opportunity to achieve that outcome,” Pompeo said at a joint news conference after talks with Japan’s foreign and defence ministers.

In answer to a question, Pompeo said he believed it was possible to maintain diplomatic engagement with North Korea even without providing the sanctions relief it had been demanding.

“We will continue to press North Korea to abandon all of its weapons of mass destruction, ballistic missiles related programs and facilities,” Pompeo said. “We will continue to enforce all sanctions on North Korea and encourage every country to do so.”

Despite Pompeo’s comments, the future of U.S. engagement with North Korea has appeared to be in limbo since the summit, with no sign of direct contact between the two sides.

On Thursday, the North Korean foreign ministry official in charge of U.S. affairs said North Korea no longer wanted to deal with Pompeo and he should be replaced in talks by someone more mature.

That statement came hours after North Korea announced its first weapons test since a second summit between Trump and Kim broke down in February.

Experts said the North Korean statement appeared aimed at dividing Trump from senior officials in the hope of exacting concessions, particularly relief from punishing sanctions.

U.S. officials have played down the test of what North Korea has described as a “tactical” weapon, implying a short-range system rather than the ballistic missiles seen as a threat to the United States.

“I don’t have the details; I just haven’t been chasing it, there’s been a few other priorities, so that’d give you kind of a sense of where it ranks,” acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said before talks at the Pentagon with his Japanese counterpart Takeshi Iwaya.

Kim warned last week that the summit breakdown risked reviving tensions and said he was only interested in meeting Trump again if Washington showed more flexibility. He gave a year-end deadline for a change in attitude.

Trump has said he is open to another summit with Kim, but his national security adviser, John Bolton, told Bloomberg News on Wednesday there first needed to be “a real indication from North Korea that they’ve made the strategic decision to give up nuclear weapons.”

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attends a news conference at a warehouse where international humanitarian aid for Venezuela is being stored, near La Unidad cross-border bridge between Colombia and Venezuela in Cucuta, Colombia April 14, 2019. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez /File Photo

In a separate development, U.S. authorities on Thursday arrested a former U.S. Marine who is a member of a group that allegedly raided the North Korean embassy in Madrid in February, two sources familiar with the arrest said.

Armed U.S. federal agents also raided the apartment of Adrian Hong, leader of Cheolima Civil Defense, a group seeking the overthrow of Kim that is blamed for the Feb. 22 raid, a person close to the group said.

Earlier this month, North Korea’s foreign ministry denounced the incident a “grave terrorist attack” and cited rumours that the FBI was partially behind the raid. The U.S. State Department has said Washington had nothing to do with it.

Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Doina Chiacu; additional reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Diane Craft

Source

more recommended stories

  • Belarus reburies over 1,200 Jews unearthed in Nazi-era mass grave

    BREST, Belarus (Reuters) – Belarus on.

  • Malaysian police raid Deloitte office for 1MDB-related documents – sources

    Men walk past a 1 Malaysia.

  • Upstart nationalist Baudet vies to become largest Dutch party in Europe

    AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – A 36-year-old nationalist.

  • New Mexico counties revolt against migrant releases

    TAOS, N.M. (Reuters) – Two more.

  • Trump antagonist Avenatti indicted for ripping off Stormy Daniels, extorting Nike

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Michael Avenatti’s.

  • Protesters, police clash in second night of post-election protests in Indonesia

    JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesian police fired.

  • Europe holds ‘most important’ EU vote

    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europeans start voting.

  • Turkey preparing for possible U.S. sanctions over S-400s – minister

    ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s defence minister.

  • Indonesian police arrest at least 20 amid post-election violence

    JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesian police have.

  • In an Indian village, Muslims talk of leaving as divide with Hindus widens

    NAYABANS, India (Reuters) – Muslims in.

  • U.S. House Democrats subpoena more Trump ex-aides, including Hicks

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. House.

  • Dutch politician resigns over asylum seeker crime report

    AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch junior Justice.

  • Trump – U.S. will respond with ‘great force’ if Iran attacks interests

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump.

  • In tearful ceremony, Sri Lanka Catholics mark one month since bombings

    Devotees light candles while praying in.

  • Austrian motor racing great Niki Lauda, who survived fiery crash, dies

    VIENNA (Reuters) – Austrian motor racing.

  • Nicaraguan government says to release 100 political prisoners

    MANAGUA (Reuters) – The Nicaraguan government.

  • Trump loses lawsuit challenging subpoena for financial records

    (Reuters) – A U.S. judge on.

  • Lawyers for South Africa’s Zuma tell court he is being treated unfairly

    JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Jacob Zuma’s lawyers.

  • BJP preparing for return to power as exit polls predict victory: sources

    NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s ruling.

  • New Ukraine President Zelenskiy dissolves parliament

    Ukraine’s President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy takes the.

  • U.S. warship sails in disputed South China Sea amid trade tensions

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military.

  • U.S. ambassador to China to make first visit to Tibet since 2013 – report

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Ambassador to.

  • Trump threatens Iran in tweet as tension between two countries escalate

    FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump.

  • European mainstream politicians see hope in downfall of Austrian far right leader

    VIENNA (Reuters) – Politicians from Europe’s.

  • France’s Le Maire says a Le Pen win in EU elections would hurt euro

    French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno.

  • Austrian chancellor, president to discuss election after far-right video scandal

    VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria’s chancellor and.

  • Australia’s conservative government revels in ‘miracle’ re-election

    MELBOURNE/SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s conservative government.

  • Saudi minister denies activist Baghdadi faced any Saudi threat

    FILE PHOTO: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of.

  • At campaign rally, Biden decries Democratic ‘anger’ and pledges unity

    PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Seeking to build.

  • Forces loyal to Libya’s U.N.-backed government receive military hardware

    TRIPOLI (Reuters) – A coalition of.

  • Australia’s conservative government moves into election-winning position

    SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s Liberal-led conservative.

  • Widows of Iraq’s war pick up the threads of fragmented lives

    MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) – In a.