Looks like our negotiations with North Korea have hit yet another snag. Despite early optimism that President Donald Trump would convince North Korea to shut down its nuclear weapons program, tensions remain as high as ever. And now, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is coming under fire from the rogue state.
North Korean Foreign Ministry official Kwon Jong Gun released a statement through the state media, claiming that Pompeo has been “letting loose reckless remarks and sophism of all kinds against us every day.” Kwon also claimed that Kim Jung Un was making a “principled stand,” and that the United States would have to change its stance for negotiations to go forward.
North Korea wants sanctions relief before it begins to denuclearize. The United States, on the other hand, wants North Korea to put its nukes where its mouth is and to begin denuclearizing before loosening sanctions.
Pompeo had been on seemingly good terms with Kim Jong Un. Secretary of State Pompeo had helped arranged the first summit in Singapore, where President Trump and Kim had seemed to come to an understanding. Yet the subsequent talks in Vietnam fell apart.
North Korean officials have largely laid the blame for the collapse in Vietnam on Pompeo, arguing that the talks gave “us a lesson that whenever Pompeo pokes his nose in, the talks go wrong without any results.”
The harsh comments appear to be in response to Pompeo’s recent remarks to Congress that there was little progress in the North Korean nuclear talks. North Korea is now demanding that someone besides Pompeo talk charge of the negotiations.
Will Trump cave or will he continue to back Pompeo? We shall see.