[Russia], May 6 (ANI): Refuting US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo's statement, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that it is "completely incorrect" to link North Korea's recent projectile launches to its leader Kim Jong-un's visit to Russia.
"Making such links is completely incorrect, it can be said unequivocally. That's all there is to say," TASS quoted Peskov as saying, dismissing Pompeo's comments.
The US official had earlier indicated that Kim had made the decision to launch new weapons after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok last month.
"The toughest sanctions in the history of North Korea remain in place. That's probably what's putting some of the pressure on Chairman Kim today. You saw this happen too right after his visit to Russia. Right after he spoke with Vladimir Putin, he made the decision to take these actions," Pompeo said on Monday.
On May 4, North Korea launched several short-range projectiles off its east coast in the wake of stalled denuclearisation talks with the United States. Following this, North Korea's state media reported that military drills had taken place in the country for "assessing (the military's) ability to handle large-calibre long-range artillery and tactical guided weapons, as well as the accuracy of fire missions and the combat capability of defence units."
Despite the launches, US President Donald Trump reaffirmed his support in Kim, tweeting that the North Korean leader would not "break his promise." The reclusive state's leader had vowed to completely denuclearise during the first US-North Korea summit held in Singapore last year.
The process has since been largely stalled, as the two states reportedly failed to resolve their differences on sanctions waivers. The reported disagreement also led to the abrupt ending of the second US-North Korea summit in Hanoi this year.
While Pyongyang has asked for relief in sanctions in exchange for the steps it has taken towards denuclearisation, the United States has remained cemented in its resolve to only grant sanction waivers once North Korea has completely denuclearised.
The recent weapon launches by North Korea are being largely seen as a sign of frustration from Pyongyang's end.
Recent reports by the United Nations estimate that over 10 million North Koreans suffer "severe food shortages," while around 42 per cent of the country's population is "food insecure." Severe sanctions against the nation only exacerbate the situation. (ANI)