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

Kim's move to undertake a new weapons test is likely to be interpreted as a bid for attention after the US hardened its stance in negotiations with North Korea.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visits the Shinchang Fish Farm in this April 16, 2019 photo released on April 17, 2019 by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA).

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

Pyongyang and Washington have been at loggerheads since the collapse of a summit between Kim and Trump earlier this year.

Russian media have been abuzz in recent days with rumours about the first one-to-one meeting between the leaders.

Last November, North Korea claimed to have tested an "ultra-modern" tactical weapon.

US government officials were not immediately available for comment on the call to replace Pompeo.

Ri was not reported to have accompanied the leader at yesterday's test, however, with state media saying he was joined by party officials Kim Phyong Hae, O Su Yong, Jo Yong Won, Ri Pyong Chol, and Kim Jong Sik.

"At the same time, it is showing that it will not do something that will end negotiations, such as a missile or nuclear test", said Cha Du-hyeogn, a visiting scholar at Seoul's Asan Institute for Policy Studies, adding that the North wants to show it will not negotiate from a weaker position. It said Pompeo's continued participation in the negotiations would ensure that the talks become "entangled", and called for a different counterpart who is "more careful and mature in communicating with us".

A U.S. State Department official in an email to NK News said they were "aware of the report, and have no further comment", while the U.S. Department of Defense said no missile launch had been detected by the U.S. Northern Command and Strategic Command.

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.

In a sign that the North is leaving its options open, Russian Federation also confirmed Wednesday that preparations are underway for a possible summit between Kim and President Vladimir Putin.

North Korea accused U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of "talking nonsense" and demanded his removal from nuclear talks.

Though Kim claims he still has a good personal relationship with the USA president, he and senior North Korean officials have shown increasing frustration with Trump's top advisers Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton.

The "advantages" of the weapon were "the peculiar mode of guiding flight and the load of a powerful warhead", KCNA said.

What ties North Korea and China?

"Even if this is not a "missile" test the way we strictly define it, these people and MID are all sanctioned entities for a reason", Hanham said. It said the test was conducted by the Academy of Defense Science.

Earlier in the week, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a U.S. monitoring organization, said activity had been detected at Yongbyon, the North's main nuclear testing facility. With U.S. negotiations stalled, Kim is likely to push Putin to provide economic aid and sanctions relief.

  • Wendy Palmer