US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at a press conference shortly after a teleconference with the foreign ministers of G-7 countries on March 25, 2020. (Yonhap)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday he was hopeful denuclearization talks between the US and North Korea would resume, just hours after North Korea threatened to repay pains the US had caused its people and despite Pyongyang’s repeated missile tests in the last few weeks.
“We hope to sit with the North Korean leadership again and discuss how to bring about a brighter future for its people,” he said.
The top US diplomat said he remembered well when US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un exchanged promises on Pyongyang’s denuclearization and the outlook for a brighter future for the North Korean people two years ago at their first summit in Singapore.
Pompeo, however, reiterated his earlier position that UN sanctions on the communist regime would remain in place. Following a teleconference with the G-7 countries’ foreign ministers last week, he advised keeping pressure on the North to halt its nuclear and missile programs.
Pyongyang slammed the US shortly after, saying Pompeo’s remarks showed the US was disinterested in ending “a countdown of confrontation,” in a statement attributed to its unidentified Foreign Ministry director in charge of negotiations with Washington.
“However outstanding or solid the intimacy was between the two heads of state, Washington’s anti-Pyongyang policy isn’t open to change,” the director said.
Seoul’s Unification Ministry said Pyongyang seemed to have introduced a new post and left the name out, as it has done on previous occasions.
Meanwhile, Pompeo said the US offered direct assistance to North Korea to help fight the coronavirus pandemic. He claimed it had done so through the World Food Bank at the onset of the global virus outbreak, as it posed a clear challenge to the impoverished country.
Pyongyang would see the humanitarian assistance needed, he said.
By Choi Si-young (firstname.lastname@example.org