U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that he will continue to lead nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea, dismissing the regime's call for his replacement, Trend reported citing Yonhap.
Pompeo's remark comes after a North Korean official accused the top U.S. diplomat of failing to understand Pyongyang's position and called for his replacement with a "more careful and mature" negotiator.
"Nothing's changed," Pompeo said in a press conference after meeting with his Japanese counterpart and the two countries' defense chiefs.
"We continue to work to negotiate, still in charge of the team. President Trump's obviously in charge of the overall effort, but it will be my team, Special Representative (Stephen) Biegun, we'll continue to lead the U.S. efforts to achieve what Chairman Kim committed to do back in June of last year, which was to denuclearize," he said.
At their first summit in Singapore in June, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for security guarantees for Pyongyang.
Kim and Trump held a second summit in Vietnam in February, but failed to reach any agreement due to differences over the scope of the North's denuclearization and sanctions relief from the U.S.
Amid the deadlock, North Korea test-fired what it called a new "tactical guided weapon" this week under the supervision of its leader Kim, and also mounted an attack on Pompeo.
The secretary said he is convinced there is still a "real opportunity" to achieve the North's denuclearization and that his diplomatic team will remain in the lead.