If the US is willing to come back to the table, North Korea would like one face to be absent from it. A senior foreign ministry official expressed no love for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in comments run by the country's KCNA news agency Thursday. The comments followed the North's announcement that it had test-fired a new tactical guided weapon, in what would be the first weapons tests since denuclearization talks between President Trump and Kim fell apart in February. That collapse is what can happen "whenever Pompeo pokes his nose in," said Kwon Jong Gun per Reuters. "I am afraid that, if Pompeo engages in the talks again, the table will be lousy once again and the talks will become entangled," he added.
"Therefore, even in the case of possible resumption of the dialogue with the United States, I wish our dialogue counterpart would be not Pompeo but other person who is more careful and mature in communicating with us," Kwon continued. The back-to-back stories on the test and Pompeo might not be "directly connected," observes the Washington Post. It flags the fact that Pompeo last week spoke of Kim as a "tyrant" at a Congressional hearing and views that insult as the "main offense" Pompeo committed. Still, the regime "is clearly frustrated" with the status of the talks. The BBC reports Pompeo visited North Korea on four occasions in 2018, once meeting with Kim. CNN notes that Pompeo and Kim were photographed smiling and shaking hands at the time. (Read more Mike Pompeo stories.)