Pompeo: N. Korea Could Have Ties With US Like Vietnam

Mike Pompeo seeks clarity in denuclearization talks with North Korea

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, reacting to a provocative statement from North Korea, said that if Washington's demands were "gangster-like", then the world is a gangster.

Speaking in Tokyo after meeting with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts, Pompeo said Sunday that denuclearization will be hard and that much work remains.

Pompeo had previously offered a more optimistic view of the talks, which were held with top North Korean party official and former spy chief Kim Yong Chol.

The peace process between the United States and North Korea was in crisis Sunday after Pyongyang angrily rejected Washington's "gangster-like" demand for rapid nuclear disarmament, despite two days of intense talks.

Pompeo said the discussion had been productive.

In a statement carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency, the foreign ministry said the outcome of Pompeo's talks with senior official Kim Yong Chol was "very concerning" because it has led to a "dangerous phase that might rattle our willingness for denuclearization that had been firm".

But earlier, in Tokyo, Pompeo said sanctions will remain in place on North Korea "until final, fully verified denuclearization as agreed to by Chairman Kim occurs".

"Their statement is typical North Korean negotiating style", Duyeon Kim, a visiting fellow at the Korean Peninsula Future Forum in Seoul, said in an email.

Less than a month after President Donald Trump talked about opening "a new chapter" between the U.S. and North Korea, the relationship between the two nations has taken a tense and hostile, but predictable turn. Yet Pompeo himself had earlier said he envisioned that occurring in about two and a half years, by the end of Trump's term, and Nauert later said the United States wasn't putting a timeline on the process.

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The statement, by an unnamed foreign ministry official, was in sharp contrast with the account given by Mr Pompeo as he left North Korea for Japan just hours before.

However, many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle defended the drills as a necessary deterrent, and say they need to prepare for a potential conflict on the peninsula.

Yesterday, Mr Pompeo appeared dismissive of these remarks, to the point of sounding slightly exasperated when questioned. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said no meeting had been planned.

"In light of the once-unimaginable prosperity and partnership we have with Vietnam today", Pompeo said, "I have a message for Chairman Kim Jong Un: President Trump believes your country can replicate this path". 'If I paid attention to the press, I'd go nuts'.

The spokesman apparently rejected the United States demand and reiterated Pyongyang's call for a "phased" and "synchronous" approach, saying that it would be the shortest way to realize a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, Yonhap news agency reported.

"Proving once again that only fools rush in, Trump forced a summit for cheap headlines", Scarborough wrote, continuing the ongoing feud between himself and president Trump.

North Korea called the outcome of the discussion "worrisome" and argued that the "cancerous issues" the USA 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.

Despite the expectations, the remains were not returned and Pompeo was not granted a meeting with Kim.

China is North Korea's closest partner but had previously helped the USA exert pressure on Kim over his nuclear program.

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