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Replace Pompeo from nuclear talks: N Korea tells US

Thursday - April 18, 2019 3:40 pm , Category : WORLD
Pyongyang, April 18 (IANS) North Korea on Thursday called on the US to replace Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as head of its team negotiating for the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, state-media said.
North Korean Foreign Ministry official Kwon Jong-gun said in the event that bilateral talks resume, Pyongyang would like Pompeo to be replaced with a "more careful and mature" negotiator, Efe news quoted the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) as saying.
He said talks could become complicated if Pompeo was involved in the discussions, adding whenever the US Secretary of State "pokes his nose talks between the two countries go wrong, without any results".
Kwon also said relations between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un were good, and Kim was pleased about that fact.
Pyongyang's request came the same day that KCNA announced that Kim had overseen the testing of a new tactical guided weapon -- a short-range weapon designed for battlefield in combat scenarios.
Experts believe the weapon could be a cruise missile, the use of which has not been banned by the UN resolutions against North Korea.
The failure to reach an agreement at the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi in February revolved around the number of North Korean nuclear assets to be dismantled against the volume of sanctions that the US would alleviate as a corresponding measure.
Washington wanted the North Korea to dismantle its missiles and chemical and biological weapons programmes before granting concessions, while Pyongyang called for the lifting of much of the sanctions in exchange for dismantling its Yongbyon nuclear facility, which the US considered insufficient.
Since then, Washington and Pyongyang have been firm on their respective positions, although each have expressed willingness to keep the dialog open to work out their differences gradually, including a possibility of organising another Trump-Kim summit.

--IANS ksk/pcj