WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump expressed confidence Monday that North Korea’s leader would “honor” its commitment to denuclearize, despite Pyongyang’s accusation that the US of “gangster-like”demands in the negotiations.
It was Trump’s first public response since North Korea gave an angry send-off in the weekend to Secretary of state Mike Pompeo after he visited the authoritarian nation amid growing skepticism that the North plans to do with its nuclear weapons.
Pompeo was looking for progress on the joint statement issued by Trump and Kim at their historic summit in Singapore in June. Pompeo characterized his talks with North Korean officials as productive, but the North’s ministry of foreign affairs blasted the discussions, and says that the visit — the third by the top U.S. diplomat since April been “unfortunate.”
Trump replied that setback with a tweet: “I am confident that Kim Jong-Un will honor the contract we signed and, more importantly, our handshake. We have agreed to the denuclearization of North Korea. China, on the other hand, it may exert negative pressure on a deal, because our attitude on the Chinese Market-Hope Not!”
The US and North Korea have actually yet to reach any agreement about the conditions under which the North would abandon its weapons programs, outside the North-bet on the top “to work towards the complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.” Pompeo’s visit of last week was intended to start more detailed negotiations to flesh out the details.
The president’s comments on China seemed to reflect concern that the united states impose punitive tariffs on Chinese imports last week could make China less cooperative in pressure on the North over its nuclear and missile programmes. China is North Korea’s traditional ally and main trading partner and is the key to maintaining sanctions pressure on Pyongyang.
Recent reports suggest that, despite its commitment to denuclearize, the North has continued to expand the infrastructure at nuclear and missile sites. Pompeo has vowed that the sanctions would remain until Pyongyang follows through on Kim’s promise to get rid of its nuclear weapons.
The secretary of state said Monday that it is “ridiculous” to expect quick results in the talks with North Korea.
Pompeo said that they have to convince the North that nuclear weapons are not a source of security, but a threat. He said that at the summit, Kim told Trump he understands that.
“It is a process. There is a lot of hours to life in the negotiations,” Pompeo said in response to a question from a coalition soldier in Afghanistan, where he visited Monday.
Matthew Lee at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, contributed to this report.