“I Was There, I Know What Took Place”: Pompeo Slams North Korea Criticism Of Denuclearization

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo hit back at a harshly worded North Korean statement which called the United States “gangster-like” and “cancerous” while insisting that Pyongyang would not accept U.S. demands to fully denuclearize before the isolated regime receives sanctions relief.

“The US is fatally mistaken if it went to the extent of regarding that the [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] would be compelled to accept, out of its patience, the demands reflecting its gangster-like mindset,” Pyongyang warned.

Pompeo brushed off North Korea’s statement, according to Bloomberg – insisting that Kim Jong Un hasn’t backed off a commitment to give up his nuclear weapons.

FILE PHOTO A new engine for an ICBM is tested at a test site at Sohae Space Center in North Korea. Photo released by KCNA April 9, 2016 / Reuters

I was there for the event, I know actually what precisely took place,” Pompeo told reporters in Tokyo Sunday, after traveling there to meet with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha after two days of talks with a top aide to Kim in Pyongyang. “When we spoke to them about the scope of denuclearization, they did not push back,” said Pompeo, adding “North Korea reaffirmed its commitment to complete denuclearization.”

North Korea also reinforced earlier promises “to destroy its missile engine test site,” sad Pompeo, while the officials in Tokyo discussed the what full denuclearization entails – adding “There will be a verification connected to the complete denuclearization.”

Hours before North Korea issued their statement, Pompeo said that progress had been made “on almost all of the central issues” between Washington and Pyongyang.

After Tokyo, Pompeo then flew to Vietnam – which he used as an example of what’s possible in terms of normalizing post-conflict relations following a mending of relations which began in the mid-80s following the Vietnam war.