Pompeo: 'I'm still in charge of' North Korea negotiation team

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: More closures possible at US bases in Europe as coronavirus spreads | Pompeo says Afghan 'reduction in violence is working' | Man accused of trying to blow up vehicle at Pentagon Pompeo: Afghanistan 'reduction of violence is working' Pompeo accuses China and Iran of hiding coronavirus outbreak MORE said he is still leading nuclear negotiations with North Korea a day after the hermit nation said it no longer wanted to work with him.

“Nothing has changed. We’ll continue to work to negotiate, still in charge of the team. President TrumpDonald John TrumpWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Democrats duke it out in most negative debate so far MORE’s obviously in charge of the overall effort, but it’ll be my team,” Pompeo told reporters Friday in Washington.


The comments come after senior North Korean foreign ministry official Kwon Jong Gun said the nation wanted to negotiate its denuclearization with someone “who is more careful and mature.”

Whenever Pompeo “pokes his nose in, talks between the two countries go wrong without any results even from the point close to success” Kwon said. “Therefore, even in the case of possible resumption of the dialogue with the United States, I wish our dialogue counterpart would be not Pompeo but other person who is more careful and mature in communicating with us.”

Kwon's comments came after North Korea said Thursday that it had tested the firing of a new "tactical guided weapon."

Talks between Washington and Pyongyang hit a roadblock earlier this year during a summit in Vietnam after President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un walked away without reaching an agreement on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

Last week, Kim expressed openness to having a third summit with Trump, giving the U.S. until year's end to be more flexible in negotiations.

Pompeo said Friday that he was still optimistic the two nations could reach a deal involving North Korea relinquishing its weapons. 

“I’m still convinced we have a real opportunity to achieve that outcome,” he said.