North Korea on Saturday accused the U.S. of undermining the spirit of last month’s summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un after what it says were “regrettable” talks with a delegation led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
A statement by the North Korean Foreign Ministry, accusing the U.S. of trying to unilaterally pressure the country into abandoning its nuclear weapons, came shortly after Pompeo’s delegation left the country.
“We had expected that the U.S. side would offer constructive measures that would help build trust based on the spirit of the leaders’ summit … we were also thinking about providing reciprocal measures,” Pyongyang’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement, according to The Associated Press.
“However, the attitude and stance the United States showed in the first high-level meeting (between the countries) was no doubt regrettable,” the spokesman said.
It went on to accuse the U.S. of requesting “cancerous demands from previous administrations that blocked all dialogue processes,” according to NK News.
Pompeo had struck a different tone, telling reporters as he left that the talks with senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol had been “productive.”
“We had many hours of productive conversations,” he said. “These are complicated issues, but we made progress on almost all of the central issues. Some places a great deal of progress. Other places, there’s still more work to be done.”
Pompeo did not meet with the North Korean leader while he was there, but the State Department said that there was no expectation that he would. Spokesperson Heather Nauert did say that Pompeo left a letter from Trump to Kim, but denied reports that he had also taken a CD of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” with him.
“I’m not going to get into the details of our conversations but we spent a good deal of our time talking about each of those two things and I think we made progress in every element of our discussion,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo also said that a team would be meeting with officials around July 12 to discuss the repatriation of remains of U.S. soldiers, and that talks would be held about the destruction of North Korea’s missile engine testing facility.
Abraham Denmark, Director of the Asia Program at The Wilson Center said in a statement that North Korea’s statement “shouldn’t be a suprise at all.”
“The fact that Kim would not meet with Secretary Pompeo is a clear sign of dissatisfaction, but it also a negotiating tactic. President Trump has already demonstrated his willingness to meet with Kim directly and make significant unilateral concessions,” he said.
“With that in mind, why would Pyongyang cave now to Pompeo when they believe they can get a better deal from his boss?”
Trump met with Kim last month in an unprecedented summit in Singapore, and has hailed the talks as a great success on the path to peace in the Korean Peninsula. Pompeo’s trip aimed to secure the details of Kim’s promise of denuclearization.
But the North Korean statement said the unilateral demands on “CVID” — complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization — were “very concerning” and that it has led to a “dangerous phase that might rattle our willingness for denuclearization that had been firm.
Fox News’ Nicholas Kalman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.