‘US clearly doesn’t want nuclear talks’
North Korea said Monday that “reckless remarks” by United States (US) Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made it clear that Washington has no intention of resuming nuclear talks and Pyongyang warned that it is now compelled to pay back “the pains the US has imposed on our people.”
During a recent meeting of G-7 foreign ministers, Pompeo called for the international community to apply more pressure on the North to give up its nuclear programme.
Pompeo’s remarks showed the US has no strategy to stop “a countdown of confrontation,” the North said in a statement attributed to an unidentified North Korean foreign ministry official in charge of negotiations with Washington.
The statement did not say what action North Korea intended to take.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said in late December that he no longer felt obliged to maintain a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests and that he would soon unveil “a new strategic weapon”.
In 2017, Kim’s torrid run of major weapons tests aimed at acquiring the ability to launch nuclear strikes on the mainland US triggered fears of war on the Korean Peninsula. Kim later suspended nuclear and long-range missile tests before he began direct talks with President Donald Trump.
Diplomacy has been stalled since the breakdown of the second summit between Trump and Kim in Vietnam in early 2019. During that meeting, Trump rebuffed Kim’s calls for major sanctions relief in return for partial disarmament.
In recent weeks, North Korea has conducted a spate of missile and artillery test launches. All were short-range and didn’t pose a direct threat to the US.