The Latest: North Korea’s foreign minister shoots back at US
SINGAPORE (AP) — The Latest on U.S. warnings on violating sanctions on North Korea (all times local):
The North Korean foreign minister has shot back at the U.S. over its warning to other countries against violating international sanctions on North Korea, saying recent moves by the U.S. are “alarming.”
Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said at a Southeast Asian regional forum in Singapore on Saturday that the U.S. “is raising its voice louder for maintaining the sanctions against” North Korea.
Ri said that while North Korea has “initiated goodwill measures” including a “moratorium on the nuclear test and rocket launch test and dismantling of nuclear test ground,” the U.S. has gone “back to the old, far from its leader’s intention.”
He made the remarks in a speech that came after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was at the same conference, warned Russia, China and others against any violation of international sanctions on North Korea.
The U.S. State Department says President Donald Trump’s reply to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s latest letter has been hand-delivered to the North’s top diplomat.
Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Trump’s written response was given to North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho at an Asian security forum in Singapore on Saturday. Ri and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were both attending the forum and briefly shook hands and exchanged pleasantries at the start of the meeting.
Nauert said Trump’s reply to Kim was given to Ri by Sung Kim, the U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines who has been leading logistical negotiations with the North on its pledge to denuclearize. Nauert would not address the content of Trump’s letter to Kim.
The White House said earlier in the week that Kim had sent a new letter to Trump and that the president had written a response.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is warning Russia, China and others against any violation of international sanctions on North Korea.
He says Washington will take seriously any action that reduces pressure on the North to abandon its nuclear weapons.
Speaking in Singapore on Saturday, Pompeo told reporters the U.S. has new, credible reports that Russia has violated U.N. sanctions by allowing joint ventures with North Korean companies and issuing new permits for North Korean guest workers. He says the reports will be raised with Moscow and roundly condemned.
Pompeo says he remains optimistic that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will follow through on his pledge to President Donald Trump to denuclearize. But he says the timeline for the North’s full and final denuclearization remains a work in progress.