Seoul official says he’ll push for North Korea temple stay program

April FrancisApr 21, 2019

North Korea said Thursday that it had test-fired a new type of "tactical guided weapon", its first such test in almost half a year, and demanded that Washington remove Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from nuclear negotiations.

North Korean officials called for a "more careful and mature" negotiator, accusing Pompeo of failing to understand North Korea's position and causing denuclearization talks to become "entangled".

"Therefore, even in the case of possible resumption of the dialogue with the U.S., I wish our dialogue counterpart would be not Pompeo, but".

Worldwide media reported that the summit was set for Russia's far-eastern city of Vladivostok, which lies not far from its short land border with North Korea.

The embassy said in a statement that the talks had been "constructive".

The test amounts to "calibrated signaling to remind us where things can go if we don't moderate our negotiating position", Narang says. He did not elaborate.

Despite Pompeo's comments, the future of USA engagement with North Korea has appeared to be in limbo since the summit, with no sign of direct contact between the two sides.

Earlier, Kim Dong-yub, a military expert at Kyungnam University's Institute of Far Eastern Studies in Seoul, said the newly tested weapon was likely a short-range cruise missile that could be launched from the ground, sea and air.

Japan has also advocated a tough approach to the North in contrast to South Korea, which has pushed for a step-by-step approach that would lift some global sanctions as incentives.

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But KCNA did not specify what the newly developed weapon was, prompting US and South Korean intelligence authorities to pore over data to determine what the test was about.

Kim was reported to have said "the development of the weapon system serves as an event of very weighty significance in increasing the combat power of the People's Army".

"It is also important to note that if the "new type tactical guided weapons" which North Korea announced today is a cruise missile, then this has nothing to do with sanctions, because the current United Nations sanctions are aimed at ballistic missiles".

Pompeo's special envoy for North Korea Stephen Biegun wrapped up a visit to Moscow on Thursday during which he met Russian officials to discuss the state of the negotiations, the State Department said. That did not happen, the official said.

Further suggesting that North Korea might still cling to at least some shred of hope for the U.S. talks is its foreign ministry's Thursday attack on Pompeo.

If so, it was likely meant to be a response to recent military drills by US and South Korea. On the contrary, this may indicate readiness for denuclearisation and a desire to acquire the deterrence forces necessary for minimal self-defence by selectively strengthening conventional weapons in a situation when there are no nuclear weapons. That demand came hours after Pyongyang announced its first weapons test since a summit in Vietnam between Trump and Kim broke down in February with no agreement.

The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, will visit Russian Federation in late April for his first meeting with Vladimir Putin, Moscow has said.

The United States said Thursday that it stands ready to continue nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea, a response to Pyongyang's calls on Washington to change tack and replace its top negotiator.

Then, in Moscow, the Kremlin announced that Kim plans to meet President Vladimir Putin in Russian Federation later this month.

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