North Korea Says Pompeo Made It Lose All Interest in Dialogue With U.S.
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said on Monday that it had lost all appetite for dialogue with the United States because of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s continuous pressure on the country to give up its nuclear weapons program.
The statement came a week after North Korea said its leader, Kim Jong-un, had received a personal letter from President Trump offering help in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
“The world does not know well why the D.P.R.K.-U.S. relations remain amiss,” North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in its statement, using the abbreviation of the North’s official name, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, “despite the special personal relations between the top leaders” of the countries.
“Secretary of State Pompeo gave a clear answer,” it added.
The statement, carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency, appeared to criticize comments by Mr. Pompeo last Wednesday after a meeting of foreign ministers of the Group of 7 industrialized countries.
He said then, “The G7 and all nations must remain united in calling on North Korea to return to negotiations and stay committed to applying diplomatic and economic pressure over its illegal nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”
North Korea said Monday that with such “slander,” Mr. Pompeo had gone against the will of Mr. Trump, who it said had sought cooperative ties with the North in his letter to Mr. Kim.
“This makes us misjudge who is the real chief executive in the U.S.,” the North Korean statement said. “Hearing Pompeo’s reckless remarks, we dropped the interest in dialogue with further conviction.”
North Korea has become “more zealous for our important planned projects aimed to repay the U.S. with actual horror and unrest for the sufferings it has inflicted upon our people,” it said, without elaborating.
North Korea has conducted four weapons tests this month that involved short-range ballistic missiles or rockets.
Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim have repeatedly praised their unusual relationship, especially after their first summit meeting, in Singapore in 2018. At one point Mr. Trump said he and Mr. Kim had fallen “in love.”
But relations between the two countries have cooled since the collapse of the leaders’ second summit meeting, held in Vietnam in February 2019, over differences regarding how quickly North Korea should dismantle its nuclear weapons program.
In December, Mr. Kim said the North no longer felt bound by its self-imposed moratorium on testing nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles.