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Pompeo says he remains hopeful about North Korea denuclearization talks

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By Abigail Williams

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that the U.S. is hopeful denuclearization talks with North Korea will continue despite threats by a senior North Korean official to pull out of the negotiations and resume missile testing.

The official, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui, “left open the possibility that negotiations would continue for sure,” Pompeo told reporters. “It’s the administration’s desire that we continue to have conversations.”

He also responded directly to threats that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un might consider resuming missile tests.

“In Hanoi, on multiple occasions, he spoke directly to the president and made a commitment that he would not resume nuclear testing, nor would he resume missile testing,” Pompeo said. “That’s Chairman Kim’s word. We have every expectation that he will live up to that commitment.”

North Korea and the United States failed to reach agreement last month at the second summit between President Donald Trump and Kim, and the two sides left in a stalemate over how far North Korea must go toward denuclearization in exchange for sanctions relief.

Speaking at a press conference Thursday, Hui blamed Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton for the breakdown in talks.

“I want to make it clear that the gangster-like stand of the U.S. will eventually put the situation in danger,” Choe said, according to The Associated Press. “We have neither the intention to compromise with the U.S. in any form nor much less the desire or plan to conduct this kind of negotiation.”

Pompeo brushed off the attacks.

“It’s not the first time. I have a vague recollection of being called ‘gangster-like’ from a visit that I took one time previously,” Pompeo said. “And following that we continued to have very professional conversation.”

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