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(2nd LD) N. Korea slams Pompeo over remarks on increased pressure

All News 22:52 March 30, 2020

(ATTN: RECASTS direct quotes in paras 4-5, 7-8 with KCNA's English dispatch; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, March 30 (Yonhap) -- North Korea lashed out at U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday for seeking continued international pressure against the regime while calling for the resumption of dialogue.

In a statement carried by the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the North Korean foreign ministry's "new department director general for negotiations with the U.S." also threatened Pyongyang will take its "own way" amid stalled talks over its nuclear program.

The official accused Pompeo of encouraging other nations to stay committed to applying diplomatic and economic pressure against North Korea during a press conference last week after a video conference among foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) major economies.

"The reckless remarks made by Pompeo seriously impaired the signboard of dialogue put up by the U.S. president as a decoy to buy time and create the environment favorable for himself," the official said.

"No matter how excellent and firm the relationship between the top leaders of the two countries is, it cannot reverse the U.S. hostile policy towards the DPRK," he added. DPRK stands for the North's official name, Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Trump has boasted of his good relations with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Last week, North Korea said that Trump sent a personal letter to Kim and expressed his intention to help Pyongyang fight against the coronavirus. But Pyongyang has not responded to the U.S. offer, according to Pompeo.

This Reuters photo shows U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaking at a news conference in Washington on March 25, 2020, after the teleconference of Group of Seven foreign ministers. (Yonhap)

"Hearing Pompeo's reckless remarks, we dropped the interest in dialogue with further conviction, but have 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," the official claimed.

The official then warned, "If the U.S. bothers us, it will be hurt."

Negotiations between the two sides on the North's nuclear weapons program have been stalled since the no-deal Hanoi summit between Trump and Kim in February last year due to wide differences over the scope of Pyongyang's denuclearization measures and Washington's sanctions relief.

Since then, the North has stressed its self-reliance and moved to beef up defense capabilities. Late last year, Kim Jong-un said that he has no expectation that the U.S. would lift sanctions and called for seeking a breakthrough to tackle challenges.

U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un hold talks at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi on Feb. 28, 2019, in this photo carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency the next day. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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