NKorea FM: Pompeo is 'Poisonous Plant' 08/23 06:17

NKorea FM: Pompeo is 'Poisonous Plant' 08/23 06:17

   North Korea's foreign minister on Friday called U.S. Secretary of State Mike 
Pompeo a "poisonous plant of American diplomacy" and vowed to "shutter the 
absurd dream" that sanctions will force a change in Pyongyang.

   SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- North Korea's foreign minister on Friday called 
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a "poisonous plant of American diplomacy" 
and vowed to "shutter the absurd dream" that sanctions will force a change in 
Pyongyang.

   The North's blistering rhetoric may dim the prospect for an early resumption 
of nuclear negotiations between the countries. A senior U.S. diplomat said 
earlier this week that Washington was ready to restart the talks, a day after 
U.S. and South Korean militaries ended their regular drills that Pyongyang 
called an invasion rehearsal.

   North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho made the comments to protest 
Pompeo's remarks in an interview in which he said that Washington will maintain 
crippling sanctions on North Korea unless it denuclearizes.

   Ri said he couldn't just let the "reckless remarks" by Pompeo pass by him 
because they came amid a possible restart of the nuclear talks. Ri said Pompeo 
is a "brazen" man because he "had begged for" North Korean denuclearization and 
improved bilateral ties when he visited Pyongyang and met leader Kim Jong Un 
several times.

   In April, North Korea demanded President Donald Trump remove Pompeo from the 
nuclear negotiations.

   Ri said North Korea is ready for both dialogue and confrontation. But he 
warned that North Korea will try to remain "America's biggest threat" if the 
United States continues to confront the North with sanctions.

   Ri likely referred to comments by Pompeo during an interview with the 
Washington Examiner earlier this week. During the interview, Pompeo said that 
the U.S. will "continue to keep on the sanctions that are the toughest in all 
of history and continue to work towards convincing Chairman Kim and the North 
Korean leaders that the right thing to do is for them to denuclearize."

   North Korea is notorious for crude and fiery diatribes against the United 
States and South Korea, although it lately focused its anger on South Korea 
rather than the U.S., particularly over the allies' military drills.

   During the drills, North Korea carried out a slew of short-range missile and 
other weapons tests capable of hitting much of South Korea, not the mainland 
U.S. Some experts said these suggest that North Korea was interested in 
resuming talks with Washington.

   The top U.S. envoy on North Korea, Stephen Biegun, said Wednesday that the 
United States was "prepared to engage as soon as we hear from our counterparts 
in North Korea."

   U.S.-led negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons collapsed after Trump 
rejected Kim's demand for widespread sanctions relief in return for partial 
disarmament steps during their second summit in Vietnam in February. Trump and 
Kim met again at the Korean border in late June and agreed to resume the talks.


(KR)

© 2019 CHS Inc.