During the meeting, Pelosi reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to support South Korea’s efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula through deterrence and diplomatic dialogue. Both sides expressed concerns over the “grave situation of rising threats from North Korea.”
Pelosi also visited the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), making her the highest-ranking U.S. official to do so since former President Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un there in 2019.
Jo Yong Sam, director general at the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s press and information affairs department, condemned Pelosi’s visit to South Korea and called her “the worst destroyer of international peace and stability.”
“Pelosi, who had come under a volley of due criticism from China for destroying regional peace and stability by visiting Taiwan, stirred up the atmosphere of confrontation with the DPRK during her visit to South Korea,” Jo said in a statement carried by state media, using North Korea’s official acronym.
Pyongyang said that Pelosi’s bilateral talks with South Korean authorities on security alliance and her visit to the DMZ exemplified “the hostile policy” of the Biden administration toward North Korea.
“It would be a fatal mistake for her to think that she can go scot-free in the Korean Peninsula,” Jo remarked. “The U.S. will have to pay dearly for all the sources of trouble spawned by her wherever she went.”
North Korea has conducted a series of missile launches this year, including one involving its largest intercontinental ballistic missile, the Hwasong-17, all of which are banned under U.N. Security Council resolutions on Pyongyang’s missile program.
South Korea has been pushing for a formal declaration to end the 1950–53 Korean War to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The two countries agreed to an armistice in 1953.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol had also pledged to help North Korea strengthen the economy of its capital city of Pyongyang in exchange for complete denuclearization.
But North Korea insists that any formal treaty to end the war must first be preceded by an end to U.S. “hostilities” against it. Washington has reiterated that it holds “no hostile intent” toward Pyongyang and expressed willingness to discuss with North Korea without preconditions.
China Uses North Korea as ‘Buffer State’: Pompeo
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on July 13 that China deters North Korea from participating in denuclearization efforts pursued by the United States because Beijing “benefits from Chairman Kim [Jong Un] continuing to hold his nuclear weapons.”
During a video interview at the Asian Leadership Conference in Seoul, hosted by South Korean media Chosun Ilbo, Pompeo said the Chinese regime uses Pyongyang as “an important buffer state,” because Washington then has to spend energies to defend East Asia against North Korea’s nuclear weapons systems.
Pompeo, who was one of the key people that made the historic Trump–Kim summits in 2019 possible, believes that Kim is a puppet of the Chinese leader Xi Jinping. He said that Kim has limited degrees of freedom.
“Not a single one of the meetings that I had with Chairman Kim, nor any meeting that President Trump had with Chairman Kim was not preceded by [Kim] meeting with Xi Jinping,” Pompeo said.
“There were times I had serious conversations with Chairman Kim only to find that right after my departure, a call from Xi Jinping came in and said, ‘Don’t you dare head down that path with that Secretary of State,’” he added.
Pompeo said that Kim was “savvy” and wanted to give up nuclear weapons in exchange for greater economic engagement from the United States. However, the Chinese regime didn’t allow him to take that direction.
North Korea also issued a statement on Aug. 8 regarding Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, expressing its support to China and accusing the United States of interfering with the internal affairs of other countries. China claims Taiwan as part of its territory and vows to conquer it by force if necessary.
China conducted live-fire drills surrounding Taiwan in alleged retaliation against Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, even though Pelosi has said that her visit was not to change the status quo for Taiwan but rather to maintain peace in the Taiwan Strait in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act and U.S.–China policy.
Nicole Hao contributed to this report.