Pompeo shoots down North Korea claim he created distrust, hostility at summit

Pompeo shoots down North Korea claim he created distrust, hostility at summit
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Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo presses for resolution to Gulf dispute The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Dems put manufacturing sector in 2020 spotlight State Department blocks reporters from Pompeo briefing with faith-based media: report MORE on Friday said a top North Korean official was “wrong” to claim that he and President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump mocks wind power: 'When the wind doesn't blow, just turn off the television' Pentagon investigator probing whether acting chief boosted former employer Boeing Trump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral MORE’s national security adviser John Bolton created an atmosphere of hostility and distrust at the recent nuclear summit in Hanoi, Vietnam.

“They’re wrong about that,” Pompeo said, describing his relationship with his North Korean counterpart, Kim Yong Chol, as “professional” and saying he expects both sides to continue discussions about denuclearization.

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Pompeo’s remarks came hours after Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said in Pyongyang that North Korea was disappointed by the collapse of talks at the summit in Hanoi last month and accused Pompeo and Bolton of making demands that created an atmosphere of mistrust and hostility.

She said, however, that the relationship between Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un remains positive and “the chemistry is mysteriously wonderful.” 

“I want to make it clear that the gangster-like stand of the U.S. will eventually put the situation in danger,” Choe said, according to The Associated Press. “We have neither the intention to compromise with the U.S. in any form nor much less the desire or plan to conduct this kind of negotiation.”

When asked about the remarks at the State Department on Friday morning, Pompeo doubted that the comments would hamper negotiations going forward.

“It’s not the first time,” Pompeo told reporters. “I have a vague recollection of being called gangster-like from a visit I took one time previously. Following that, we continued to have very professional conversations where we tried our best to work together to represent our respective sides. I have every expectation that we will be able to continue to do that.”

Earlier, Pompeo noted that Choe in her remarks “left open the possibility that negotiations would continue.”

Bolton also disputed Choe’s comments as “inaccurate” Friday. 

Choe also suggested in her remarks to diplomats and media outlets that Kim would soon make a decision on whether to restart nuclear or missile testing. When asked to respond to that, Pompeo said Kim committed in personal talks with Trump on “multiple occasions” in Singapore not to resume nuclear or missile testing.

“In Hanoi, on multiple occasions, he spoke directly to the president and made a commitment that he would not resume nuclear testing nor would he resume missile testing,” Pompeo said. “That's Chairman Kim's word. We have every expectation that he will live up to that commitment.”

The second summit between Trump and Kim ended abruptly late last month without any agreement on further steps toward denuclearization. Trump said North Korea had made unacceptable demands about lifting sanctions, telling reporters at a press conference, “Sometimes you have to walk.” North Korea, meanwhile, has disputed the Trump administration’s account of their demands.

Pompeo repeatedly insisted Friday that the administration intends to continue discussions with North Korea, but would not offer details on the current status of negotiations over Pyongyang’s nuclear program. 

“It’s the administration’s desire that we continue to have conversations about this,” Pompeo said. “As the president said in Hanoi, the offer that they made simply didn’t rise to the level that was acceptable given what they were asking for in exchange."