Friday, 18 October, 2019

North Korea Demands Pompeo's Removal From Nuclear Talks With US

Kim Jong Un makes surprise visit to North Korea air force unit North Korea reportedly tests new tactical guided weapon
Russell Knight | 18 April, 2019, 19:09

North Korean Foreign Ministry official Kwon Jong Gun released a statement Thursday morning that included a stinging rebuke of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has been leading negotiations of nuclear disarmament for the lifting of economic sanctions with the isolated country.

Kim Jong Un also oversaw the test of an unidentified tactical weapon in November that could protect North Korea like a "steel wall", according to state media.

He was also accompanied by "other senior officials of the Party Central Committee and commanding officers of the Korean People's Army", state media said, as well as "Kim Su Gil, Ri Yong Gil, No Kwang Chol, Pak Jong Chon and Pak Kwang Ju". Some in Seoul worry that the North will turn back to weapons testing - which it has largely halted since a series of launches in 2017 and Trump's response of "fire and fury" had many fearing war - and other actions seen as provocative by outsiders as a way to force Washington to drop its current hardline negotiating stance and grant the North's demand for a removal of crushing global sanctions.

However, the description provided by KCNA suggests that it does not represent a return to missile testing for the regime - a tactical weapon is created to be used on the battlefield, and is typically not a long-range armament.

But, he added, it was "fortunate" that Mr Kim and Mr Trump remained on "good terms as usual" despite the gridlock in nuclear talks.

Analysts in South Korea said North Korea was trying to send a message to the USA and South Korea.

Her seat in the stands just feet away from United States vice-president Mike Pence gave substance to suggestions she had been entrusted to represent the regime at the highest possible level and that view was cemented when she was at the table of the first, historic inter-Korean summit between Kim Jong-un his opposite number Moon Jae-in.

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The Kremlin did not provide details of the exact date or location of the meeting but Russian, South Korean and Japanese media said it would be in Russia's far east.

The first historic meeting in Singapore previous year had sparked hopes of a deal but relations have deteriorated again since then. -North Korea summit at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi, Feb. 28, 2019.

The last summit between a Russian and North Korean head of state came in 2011 when Kim's father, Kim Jong-il, travelled to Siberia to meet Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's then president.

"North Korea is displaying a passive military demonstration with jets and conventional weapons, since they can not provoke US directly with nuclear weapons or long-range missiles", Park Hwi Rak, a political science professor at Kookmin University, in Seoul, told ABC News.

The reported weapons test is likely not a banned activity.

Trump last week rejected a call for confidence-building joint economic projects between Seoul and Pyongyang, and his national security adviser said Wednesday that the US would need to see more evidence that Kim was ready to give up nuclear weapons before scheduling a third summit. "It was air force inspection yesterday and short-range missile test today, so we can even go on to guess there may be a nuclear provocation next year".

KCNA didn't describe the weapon exactly but said it has a "peculiar mode of guiding flight" and "a powerful warhead". It said the test was conducted by the Academy of Defense Science. "It would mean North Korea no longer had a nuclear weapons program or weapons of mass destruction program".

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