SEOUL, (AFP): A senior North Korean official on Tuesday accused US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of having “foolish and dangerous ideas”, and warned Washington of an “unwanted outcome” if it does not adjust its stance on economic sanctions.
Pyongyang and Washington have been at loggerheads since the collapse of a summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump in February with no deal reached on the North’s denuclearisation.
Since then tensions have mounted, and Tuesday’s comments marked the second time Pyongyang has criticised the top US diplomat this month. The reclusive state has previously demanded the removal of Pompeo from future talks, labelling him as “reckless”.
In an interview with CBS last week, Pompeo said the US could “change paths” if Kim did not bring “real conversations” on abandoning North Korea’s nuclear arsenal to the negotiation table.
On Tuesday, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said Pompeo’s comments were “foolish and dangerous ideas that imply overthrowing our system with military means”.
“Our resolution on denuclearisation remains intact and we will do so when time is right,” she said, in comments cited by North Korea’s official KCNA news service.
“But it will only be possible when the US revises and reshapes its current calculation.”
And if the US did not change its stance by the end of this year, it will “face (an) unwanted outcome,” she said, without elaborating further.
Washington has blamed the collapse of the Hanoi summit in February on the North’s demands for sanctions relief in return for limited nuclear disarmament — but Pyongyang has denied this, saying it had wanted only some of the measures eased.
Last week, North Korea also slammed John Bolton, the White House National Security Advisor, saying he had a “lack of understanding about the intentions” of Kim and President Donald Trump in an escalation of rhetoric against US officials.
In a speech to the rubber-stamp parliament earlier this month, Kim said he would wait until the end of the year “for the US to make a courageous decision” to change its approach and smooth the path to another meeting.
Meanwhile, Kim and Russian President Vladimir Putin met last week in Vladivostok for their first summit — squarely aimed at countering US influence — where Kim accused Washington of acting in “bad faith”.
(Tuesday’s comments are Pyongyang’s second criticism of top US diplomat Mike Pompeo this month. Photo: KCNA VIA KNS)
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