US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dismissed North Korea’s accusation of a “gangster-like mindset” in denuclearization talks, saying the two nations had productive conversations that will continue in the days ahead.
Pompeo brushed aside the comments Sunday, saying “if those requests were gangster-like, the world is a gangster,” and noting that the UN Security Council has been clear on what North Korea needs to achieve.
He spoke in Tokyo with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts after two days of talks in Pyongyang.
While his talks with North Korean officials were conducted in good faith and they reaffirmed their commitment to abandoning nuclear weapons, he said, the US sanctions against the nation will remain in place.
“We had detailed, substantive conversations about the next steps toward a fully verified and complete denuclearization,” he said.
On Sunday night in Vietnam, at a dinner with Vietnamese and American business leaders, Pompeo said Vietnam experienced an “incredible rise” over the past few decades in part due to new engagement with the United States. He then delivered a message to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un: “President Trump believes your country can replicate this path – it’s yours if you’ll seize the moment. The miracle can be yours.”
Pompeo added, “If they are able to do this, they will be remembered, and Chairman Kim will be remembered as a hero of the Korean people.”
On Saturday, North Korea slammed what it called the US’ “gangster-like mindset” during the talks, according to a report by state media. The accusation came after Pompeo visited Pyongyang and declared that the talks were productive.
“People are going to make stray comments after meetings,” he said of North Korea’s assertion. “If I paid attention to what the press said, I’d go nuts. I am determined to achieve the commitment that President Trump made, and I’m counting on chairman Kim to be determined to follow through on the commitment that he made.”
North Korea has said the “attitude” of the US was regrettable and not in the spirit of the June 12 summit in Singapore between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“We expected the US to bring constructive measures to build confidence in accordance with the spirit of the US-NK Summit,” the statement carried by state-run news agency KCNA said.
“However, the attitude of the US in the first high-level talks held on the 6th and 7th were indeed regrettable.”
North Korea called the outcome of the discussion “worrisome” and argued that the “cancerous issues” the US delegation raised were the same ones that had “amplified” distrust and the risk of war with past administrations, resulting in previous talks ending in failure.
Pompeo gave assurances that North Korea is still committed to dismantling its nuclear program despite satellite images that appear to show infrastructure improvements to a nuclear facility and the finalizing of a ballistic missile manufacturing site.
“There will be a verification connected to the complete denuclearization, that’s what President Trump and Chairman Kim both agreed to,” he said Sunday.
CNN’s Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report