US Sec. Of State Mike Pompeo Declared Persona Non Grata By North Korea
North Korea has had enough of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. In a surprising statement today, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said he no longer wants Pompeo involved in future nuclear talks.
Instead, he called for someone who "is more careful and mature in communicating," according to a state-run propaganda media agency, KCNA. And in a cryptic statement, the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: "no one can predict" the situation on the Korean peninsula if the United States does not abandon the "root cause" that compelled North Korea to develop its nuclear program.
North Korea's denunciation of Pompeo, the chief negotiator of president Donald Trump in the two failed summits between Kim and Trump, came a day after North Korea launched a new type of tactical guided weapon. It was the first weapons test undertaken by the North since the first Kim-Trump summit in Singapore in June 2018,
KCNA said the test of "a powerful warhead" was overseen by Kim who also directed the "tactical guided weapons test." The Pentagon said the launch was not that of a ballistic missile as its spy satellites had not detected the tell-tale signatures of such a launch.
Analysts said Kim might be calculating that testing a short-range battlefield missile instead of a long-range ballistic missile won't be provocative enough to anger Trump while reminding him of the stakes at their third summit if this does come about.
North Korea has long known to have had a deep dislike of Pompeo. In July 2018, it took the unusual step of publicly denouncing Pompeo's negotiating style after a meeting North Korean negotiators in Pyongyang.
North Korea blasted Pompeo for using "gangster-like" tactics to advance Trump's agenda. It branded Pompeo's attitude at the meeting as "extremely troubling."
But the North Korean statement, carried by the official KCNA news agency, said the US had gone against the spirit of the summit by putting unilateral pressure on the country to abandon its nuclear weapons.
"We had anticipated the US side would come with a constructive idea, thinking we would take something in return," said a North Korean statement, warning its "resolve for denuclearisation... may falter".
"The US is fatally mistaken if it went to the extent of regarding that [North Korea] would be compelled to accept, out of its patience, demands reflecting its gangster-like mindset."