North Korea ratchets up pressure on United States to resume talks

North Korea ratchets up pressure on United States to resume talks

The United States in March imposed a new round of sanctions over North Korea's nuclear weapons program, following the collapse of talks between Trump and Kim in February.

In a statement released by the state-run Korean Central News Agency, Foreign Ministry official Kwon Jong Gun said Pompeo had been "letting loose reckless remarks and sophism of all kinds against us every day".

Koh Yu-hwan, professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University, agreed the test was a message to the U.S. showing its displeasure over the stalled nuclear talks. The North's report said the "tactical guided weapon" successfully tested in a "peculiar mode of guiding flight" and demonstrated the ability to deliver a "powerful warhead".

FILE - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, along with two military officials, observes a Korean People's Air Force training flight, on April 16, 2019. But he could provide important political cover or economic aid for North Korea - and a potential headache for Trump - if he chooses to play a bigger role.

North Korea test-fired a new "tactical guided weapon", it said Thursday, and called for the removal of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from nuclear talks as the communist state shows increasing frustration over the stalled negotiations. Those talks ended without an agreement. "Treasury will continue to enforce our sanctions..."

In Washington, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan confirmed that North Korea conducted a test launch but said it did not involve a ballistic weapon and did not trigger any change in USA military operations.

On Thursday, he said that if Mr Pompeo were to be involved in further talks, "the table will be lousy once again and the talks will become entangled". Kwon said another meeting would not be successful with Pompeo there.

US and Japanese officials said they had agreed that cyberattacks on either country would be considered an attack covered by Article 5 of the Japan-U.

South Korea's unification ministry could be taking the development seriously.

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"Therefore, even in the case of possible resumption of the dialogue with the USA, I wish our dialogue counterpart would be not Pompeo" but another person "who is more careful and mature in communicating with us", the news agency reported.

CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr said Kim might be calculating that testing a short-range battlefield missile instead of a long-range ballistic missile won't be provocative enough to anger Trump while reminding him of the stakes at their third summit, if this does come about.

Kwon did not explain more about why North Korea was being forced to develop nuclear weapons. The U.S. and its allies have balked at allowing projects now blocked by sanctions and long sought by North Korea - such as an energy pipeline from Russian Federation and regular train service across their shared border - until Pyongyang agrees to reduce its security threat.

Ahead of Kim Jong Un's two summits with Trump, Kim Chang Son visited Singapore and Vietnam in advance and handled logistical preparations. He said the USA must change its methods by the end of the year. Kim last week said he was only interested in meeting Trump again if Trump came with the right attitude. At the same time, he criticized Pompeo for telling untrue stories to get attention.

Very little has moved since the U.S. and North Korean leaders walked out of talks in Hanoi - apart from rhetoric. Last week, Pompeo agreed to the naming of Kim as a "tyrant" at a USA congressional hearing.

Experts have suggested the weapon was likely to be a short range missile flying lower to the ground. "So that gives Trump room to ignore or downplay the test", said Jean Lee of the Washington, D.C. -based Wilson Center.

Putin in May a year ago invited the North Korean leader to visit Russian Federation. They are long-range missiles that could reach the U.S.

Joseph Yun, who served as USA special representative for the DPRK until past year, said the country had always been dubious about Pompeo, seeing him as a hardline conservative skeptical of engagement with it.