Japan's Abe Praises Pompeo After North Korea Spat

10 July, 2018, 15:57 | Author: Angel Logan
  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Pompeo visited the Communist country for the third time on Friday - the first following the historic summit between its leader, Kim Jong Un, and President Trump in May - in an effort to encourage Pyongyang to get rid of its nuclear weapons, which received a chilly response from North Korean officials.

In Tokyo on Sunday, Pompeo rejected the suggestion the two sides were far apart, describing North Korean officials as more receptive to United States demands behind closed doors.

Despite Pompeo's reassurance, his trip to Pyongyang has fueled concern that the denuclearization pledge made by North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un during his meeting with Trump failed to result in producing a tangible outcome, experts said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has delivered a dose of harsh reality to Donald Trump, bashing hopes for a quick denuclearization deal in a pointed rebuke to the president's top envoy while accusing the US of making "gangster-like" demands.

"There will be a verification connected to the complete denuclearisation, it's what President Trump and Chairman Kim both agreed to", he added. "The North Koreans understand that and have not challenged that".

"I have confidence that Kim Jong-un will honor the contract we signed and, even more importantly, our handshake", he said, before suggesting that China was attempting to strain relations between the USA and North Korea because of Trump's trade tariffs. Kim ended Pompeo's visit on a positive note, telling the top U.S. diplomat just before he boarded his plane, "We will produce an outcome, results".

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Abe's official residence in Tokyo on Sunday.

"The US is fatally mistaken if it went to the extent of regarding that the DPRK would be compelled to accept, out of its patience, demands reflecting its gangster-like mindset", the statement said, referring to North Korea by its official initials.

Japan's Abe had praised Pompeo for his strong leadership on the issue after speaking with the Secretary of State Sunday.

The secretary of state acknowledged that "the road ahead will be hard and challenging" and vowed to keep punishing economic sanctions in place "until final fully verified denuclearization" is achieved.

Just hours after Pompeo arrived in Tokyo, the North blasted the discussions, saying the visit had been 'regrettable'.

Pompeo later dismissed those comments, saying the two sides "made progress" and that talks will continue.

China is North Korea's biggest trading partner.

Pompeo also said that during the latest meetings with his North Korean counterpart, he raised the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s.

In practical terms, Pompeo mentioned only that officials from both sides would meet on July 12 to discuss the repatriation of the remains of some U.S. soldiers killed during the 1950-1953 Korean War.

Pompeo had no meeting with the North's leader unlike his previous two visits there.

While trying to keep the Chinese on board for North Korea negotiations, Trump took a tough stance on trade with China, slapping tariffs last week on $US34 billion ($A46 billion) worth of Chinese goods and sparking retaliation in kind from Beijing.

"I see China's hands all over this". Pompeo spoke with Trump, Bolton and White House chief of staff John Kelly on Saturday before his second round of meetings with Kim Yong Chol.

Mr Pompeo also sought to dispel suggestions the Trump administration had backed down from demanding the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of the North's nuclear weapons.

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