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Pompeo dismisses North Korean accusation of ‘gangster-like’ diplomacy

Pompeo dismisses North Korean accusation of ‘gangster-like’ diplomacy
© Greg Nash

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoBiden should expand contact between US and Taiwanese officials On The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits MORE on Sunday pushed back against North Korean claims that the U.S. is using "gangster-like" methods to end its nuclear program, saying the U.S. is not the first country to push for denuclearization.

“If those requests were gangster-like, the world is a gangster,” Pompeo said, referring to United Nations resolutions that imposed sanctions on North Korea and demanded the country end its nuclear program.

“When we spoke to them about denuclearization, they did not push back,” Pompeo added. “The road ahead will be difficult and challenging and we know that critics will try to minimize the work that we’ve achieved.”

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North Korean state-run news agency KCNA on Saturday claimed the U.S. was using a “gangster-like mindset” in pushing for the country to abandon its nuclear program.

The statement was an escalation from the day before, when North Korea called talks with Pompeo “regrettable” and “very concerning.”

Pompeo, meanwhile, had called the talks productive. He told reporters that his discussions with North Korean officials included details about what the next steps are to ensure a “full, verified and complete denuclearization."

Pompeo traveled to Pyongyang last Thursday as the first leg of a trip to Asia and Europe. It marked his first time visiting North Korea since President TrumpDonald TrumpIran convicts American businessman on spying charge: report DC, state capitals see few issues, heavy security amid protest worries Pardon-seekers have paid Trump allies tens of thousands to lobby president: NYT MORE held a summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore last month. 

On Saturday, the secretary of State shared photos on social media of him meeting with South Korean and Japanese officials in Tokyo to discuss North Korea. 

“Together with #ROK & #Japan we’ll maintain regional stability while continuing economic pressure on #DPRK,” Pompeo wrote in one tweet.

While Trump declared the summit an unmitigated success and claimed North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat, skeptics noted that the two signed an agreement that lacked specifics on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

In recent weeks, multiple reports have indicated North Korea is continuing to develop its nuclear arsenal.