On his first trip to Pyongyang following what was billed by the Trump administration as a triumphant summit last month with Kim Jong Un, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sounded fairly upbeat, saying “progress” had been made in talks to get North Korea to give up its nuclear arsenal.
North Korea apparently didn’t get the memo.
Just before leaving Pyongyang, @SecPompeo gives US reporters a brief readout from his meetings. “These are complicated issues but we made progress on almost all the central issues. Some places, a great deal of progress, other places, there’s still more work to be done.” pic.twitter.com/wiP0J1447N
— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) July 7, 2018
The Associated Press reported that, mere hours after Pompeo departed North Korea following two days of talks, Pyongyang issued a scathing statement Saturday calling the talks “regrettable” and “extremely worrisome.”
Remarkably, the North Korean foreign ministry seemed taken aback by the U.S. calls that it abandon its nuclear arsenal — ostensibly the entire point behind last month’s meeting in Singapore between Trump and Kim.
“The results of the talks are extremely worrisome,” read a North Korean statement attributed to an unnamed official.
“What the US is requesting is the cancerous demands from previous administrations that blocked all dialogue processes,” the statement read, urging the United States to come up with “constructive measures to help build confidence.”
The AP report added that North Korean officials said talks were now in a “dangerous phase that might rattle our willingness for denuclearization that had been firm.”
Not even a month ago, Trump was tweeting that the North Korea nuclear problem was all but solved, and that Americans could finally rest easy thanks to his breakthrough in talks with Kim.
Trump and Kim Jong-un signed an agreement at a June 12 summit pledging to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” In exchange for agreeing to disarm, Pyongyang is to receive relief from crippling sanctions that have hampered its economic growth.
Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea. President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer – sleep well tonight!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2018
Since returning from the summit, Trump has made it clear that he believes he has the problem of North Korea’s nuclear capacity solved and even suspended joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises as a show America’s good faith.
But as ThinkProgress reported this week, it has been apparent to military and security officials for quite some time that Pyongyang has no intention of giving up its nuclear arsenal, and probably never did.