18:57 GMT +320 September 2019
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    North Korea Says Ready for Dialogue, Standoff With US Amid Pompeo's Sanctions Pressure Plans

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    Asia & Pacific
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - North Korea is ready for both dialogue and confrontation with the United States, the Asian country's Foreign Minister, Ri Yong Ho, said on Friday in the wake of US State Secretary Mike Pompeo’s announcement of plans to impose tougher restrictions on the country if it does not abandon its nuclear arsenal.

    In his official statement, Ri referred to Pompeo's interview with Washington Examiner, published earlier this week. In the interview, Pompeo expressed hope that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was committed to denuclearizing his country, saying that otherwise, the United States would "continue to keep on the sanctions that are the toughest in all of history and continue to work towards convincing Chairman Kim and the North Korean leaders that the right thing to do is for them to denuclearize."

    "We are ready for both dialogue and stand-off. The U.S. is sadly mistaken if it still thinks of standing in confrontation with the DPRK with sanctions, not dropping its confrontational stand. Then, we will remain as the biggest 'threat' to the U.S. for long and long and will make it understand for sure what it has to do for the denuclearization," Ri said in a statement, issued by the official KCNA news agency.

    The North Korean top diplomat added that Pompeo pursued personal political ambitions rather than was interested in implementing the United States' current foreign policy.

    Kim has been involved in talks on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula with US President Donald Trump. The negotiations reached a deadlock in February when the two leaders left their long-anticipated second summit without any agreement. However, they met again in late June to agree on reviving the working-level talks.

    Still, since then, North Korea conducted a series of weapons launches, testing what the United States believes was short-range ballistic missiles. At the same time, the United States and South Korea carried out joint military drills despite protests from Pyongyang.

    Earlier this week, Pompeo said that the US strategy with regard to North Korea had not changed following Pyongyang's recent missile tests, adding that both sides planned to return to the negotiating table in a couple of weeks.


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