North Korea has asked that the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is left off the talks between Pyongyang and Washington on nuclear weapons, blaming him for the stalemate in the process.
"I am afraid that if Mr. Pompeo is still involved in the talks, the atmosphere may be bad and the discussions may be blocked again," said Kwon Jong Gun, director general of the US affairs department of the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, quoted by the KCNA news agency.
"Therefore, in the event of a possible return to dialogue with the United States, I hope that our interlocutor in the talks is not Mr. Pompeo, but... a person who is more attentive and mature to communicate with us," added Kwon Jong Gun.
These statements were released a few hours after KCNA reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had overseen the test of a new "guided tactical weapon" with a "powerful warhead."
This is the second time that North Korea claims to have carried out a weapons test since the beginning of the negotiations with the United States in 2018 regarding its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs and the first since the failure of the second summit between Kim and the President of the United States, Donald Trump, in February in Hanoi.
Kwon Jong Gun warned that if the United States does not "get away from the root cause" that forced the North Koreans to get the nuclear weapon, "no one can predict what will happen to the situation in the peninsula."
However, he added that he would be "happy" if Kim and Trump continued to negotiate "on good terms, as usual," despite the diplomatic stalemate over the nuclear issue.