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Pompeo Gets Testy Over 'Insulting' N. Korea Question

Newser — Newser Editors

President Trump was formally nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize in early May, with the House of Representatives members who submitted the nomination citing his efforts to broker peace on the Korean peninsula.

Now, a second nomination, this time out of Norway. The AP reports two lawmakers with the country's populist Progress Party have submitted Trump's name due to his having "taken a huge and important step in the direction of the disarmament, peace, and reconciliation between North and South Korea" via the Singapore summit.

The nomination period ends Feb. 1. In other summit-related news:

  • Speaking to reporters in Seoul, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo laid out an aggressive timeline for denuclearization, saying the goal was to see "major disarmament" before Trump's first term wraps up.

"We're hopeful that we can achieve that in the [next] 2 1/2 years," the Wall Street Journal quotes him as saying.

  • Bloomberg reports Pompeo got testy when asked why the joint statement Trump and Kim Jong Un signed didn't specify verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.

"I find that question insulting and ridiculous and frankly ludicrous. I just have to be honest with you, it's a game, it's a game, and one ought not play games with serious matters like this." Bloomberg also quotes him as saying, "I am confident that they understand what we're prepared to do, the handful of things that we’re likely not prepared to do. I am equally confident that they understand there will be in-depth verification."

  • As for Trump's announcement that he was willing to end some military exercises with South Korea, Pompeo said North Korea understands the bargain it forged.

Trump "made it very clear that the condition precedent for the exercises not to proceed was ... productive, good-faith negotiations being ongoing. And at the point that it’s concluded they are not, the president's commitment to not have those joint exercises take place will no longer be in effect," the Washington Post quotes him as saying.

  • Pompeo wasn't the only one getting testy with the press on Wednesday.

Trump took to Twitter to air his grievances, writing: "So funny to watch the Fake News, especially NBC and CNN. They are fighting hard to downplay the deal with North Korea. 500 days ago they would have 'begged' for this deal-looked like war would break out. Our Country’s biggest enemy is the Fake News so easily promulgated by fools!"

  • One of the networks Trump singled out responded forcefully here.

One of CNN's milder lines: "Trump frequently portrays the news media as one of his enemies, but rarely has he been this blunt about it."

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