North Korea has demanded in the stalled negotiations with the US on its nuclear weapons program to exclude US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the future.
Kwon Jong Gun, head of North America’s North America Office, accused Pompeo of hindering talks and injuring the dignity of leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday. In the event of a possible resumption of the dialogue, it would be desirable to replace Pompeo with someone “more cautious and mature to communicate with us,” state media quoted Kwon.
The criticism of Pompeo came shortly after reports from North Korea about the test of a novel tactical missile. Ruler Kim Jong Un overseen the test on Wednesday and spoke of a “very significant event,” the state media said. About the weapon type was initially said nothing more. It was speculated that North Korea’s test could also demonstrate its displeasure with the US negotiating position.
Pompeo was commissioned by US President Donald Trump to press ahead with negotiations with North Korea last year. He met several senior North Korean officials in the US or Pyongyang, including Kim Jong Un.
A second summit between Trump and Kim at the end of February in Vietnam was prematurely abandoned without result. Both sides were divided on the central issue of nuclear disarmament in North Korea. North Korea demanded that most of the sanctions be lifted. Most recently, Kim had given the US a deadline by the end of this year for an acceptable solution. North Korea claims to have tested a novel tactical missile in the presence of ruler Kim Jong Un. This had proved to be ideal for the “load with a powerful warhead,” said the state media on Thursday.
“The completion of the development of the weapon system is an event of great importance, as far as the clout of the People’s Army is increased,” Kim was quoted as the senior military commander. Details of the weapon type were not mentioned.
An independent confirmation for the test did not exist at first. It would be the first known weapon test of the foreclosed country under Kim’s eyes since November, when it was talked about the testing of a newly developed high-tech weapon.
North Korea has been under particular scrutiny from the international community for its nuclear and missile testing over the past few years. In April 2018, the Communist leadership in Pyongyang announced a halt to nuclear bomb tests and intercontinental ballistic missile tests. As a result, tensions in the region and also in relation to the USA have decreased significantly.
According to reports, the latest arms test was conducted on Wednesday in the presence of Kim from the Academy of Defense. The US Department of Defense initially said only that the reports had been noted. In South Korea it was speculated, possibly a cruise missile had been tested.
The latest test came at a time of increased uncertainty following the failed second summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump in late February in Vietnam. Both sides could not agree on the central issue of nuclear disarmament in North Korea. Pyongyang demanded that most of the sanctions be lifted.
North Korea’s rulers had agreed in principle to a third summit with Trump. But he set a deadline for the USA until the end of this year. Until then, Washington should submit a mutually acceptable solution, it was said.