DIPLOMATIC FRICTION

North Korea Calls Pompeo’s Visit ‘Deeply Regrettable’

North Korea’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday lamented recent talks with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as “deeply regrettable,” even as Pompeo boasted of “progress” in the “very productive” negotiations. Hours after Pompeo departed Pyongyang following two days of discussions with North Korean officials, an unnamed spokesman for the ministry issued a statement warning that Washington’s “unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization” has led to a “dangerous phase that might rattle our willingness for denuclearization that had been firm.” Pompeo had earlier told reporters progress had been made “on almost all of the central issues” but conceded that “there’s still more work to be done.” There were some signs of friction between the two sides as negotiations began earlier Saturday between Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol, a top aide to Kim Jong Un. Kim reportedly jokingly suggested Pompeo “might have not slept well” the night before due to the pair’s “very serious discussion on very important matters yesterday.” Pompeo was reportedly quick to respond that he’d “slept just fine.”