North Korea calls for 'immature' Mike Pompeo to be dropped from nuclear talks with US

Peter Stubley

North Korea has called for US secretary of state Mike Pompeo to be removed from nuclear talks because of his reckless and immature behaviour, according to reports.

The official KCNA news agency quoted Kwon Jong Gun, a senior foreign ministry official, as accusing Mr Pompeo of “fabricating stories like a fiction writer.”

“Whenever Pompeo pokes his nose in, the talks go wrong without any results even from the point close to success,” Mr Kwon said.

“I am afraid that, if Pompeo engages in the talks again, the table will be lousy once again and the talks will become entangled.

“Therefore, even in the case of possible resumption of the dialogue with the US, I wish our dialogue counterpart would be not Pompeo but other person who is more careful and mature in communicating with us.”

The statement was made shortly after North Korea announced that its supreme leader Kim Jong-un had overseen the testing of a new tactical guided weapon.

It was the North’s first weapon’s test since negotiations over nuclear disarmament and US sanctions broke down at the second summit between Mr Kim and US President Donald Trump in February.

Last week the North Korean leader announced that he would only consider a third summit if the US brought the “right attitude” to talks and changed its “hostile” policy, including tough sanctions, before the end of the year.

On Monday, Mr Pompeo responded by saying that Mr Kim had promised to denuclearise during his first summit with Mr Trump and that officials were trying to “chart a path forward so we can get there.”

The North Korean statement by Mr Kwon accused Mr Pompeo of “talking nonsense”.

“We cannot be aware of Pompeo’s ulterior motive behind his self-indulgence in reckless remarks; whether he is indeed unable to understand words properly or just pretending on purpose,” said Mr Kwon.

“However, it is a very dangerous situation if he really did not grasp the meaning. If his behaviour is intended, I think it is none other than silly calculation to be free from the constraint that the US should make a move until the end of the year, misrepresenting the meaning of our requirement as the finalization of the working level negotiation by the end of the year by help of his talented skill of fabricating stories like a fiction writer.”

Mr Pompeo was also accused of “spouting reckless remarks hurting the dignity of our supreme leadership” – believed to be a reference to the secretary of state’s agreement that Mr Kim was a “tyrant”.

Additional reporting by agencies