Updated Apr 18, 2019

North Korea wants Pompeo removed from nuclear talks, state media says

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kim Jong-un. Photo: The White House via Getty Images

North Korea wants U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo removed from nuclear negotiations with the country, Pyongyang state media reported Thursday.

Details: "I am afraid that, if Pompeo engages in the talks again, the table will be lousy once again and the talks will become entangled," the official KCNA news agency quoted Kwon Jong Gun, director general of the Department of American Affairs at North Korea's Foreign Affairs Ministry, as saying.

The big picture: The report comes a day after North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un oversaw the test of a new tactical guided weapon. It's the first indication of a weapons demonstration by the East Asia country since President Trump's summit with Kim abruptly ended without an agreement in Hanoi in February.

The backdrop: Pompeo said Monday he hadn't ruled out a third summit taking place between Trump and Kim.

Between the lines: Pompeo's relationship with his North Korean counterparts has been tense at times. Last year, Choe Son-hui, North Korea's vice minister of foreign affairs, called him a "political dummy" and threatened to cancel a June summit between Trump and Kim. Trump canceled it hours later.

  • There were reports Choe was again critical of Pompeo following the collapse of the last summit, but the secretary of state said they continued to have very professional conversations.

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