Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Pompeo says hopes talks with Kim in Pyongyang will lead to denuclearisation

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Ray Hunter | 08 October, 2018, 10:31

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agreed to arrange a second leaders summit "as soon as possible", and discussed potential U.S. monitoring of Pyongyang's steps towards denuclearisation, South Korea's presidential office said on Sunday.

Pompeo met with Kim in Pyongyang for two hours, the two had lunch together, then he flew to Seoul later in the day to share the outcome of their meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha.

South Korea's presidential office later said that Kim and Pompeo had agreed to arrange a second summit between the North and the USA "as soon as possible".

Pompeo's diplomatic offensive comes as Trump presses to meet with Kim for a second time after their June summit in Singapore produced a vague agreement on denuclearization with few, if any, specifics.

Absent sanctions relief, North Korea has rejected turning over what Washington really wants in return: a complete inventory of its nuclear and ballistic missile facilities that could be used by global inspectors to verify they have been dismantled.

At his last meeting with Moon, he expressed willingness to allow outside observations of key missile facilities and, for the first time, to "permanently" scrap North Korea's main nuclear complex in Yongbyon.

One US official who accompanied Pompeo said Sunday's meeting was "better than the last time", but added that "it's going to be a long haul".

Moon said he hoped a Trump-Kim summit would happen soon, and would "make irreversible, decisive progress in terms of denuclearization as well as the peace process".

"Together with Mike Pompeo, Kim Jong Un appreciated the positively developing situation on the Korean peninsula, explained in detail the proposals for solving the denuclearization issue and matters of concern of both sides and exchanged constructive opinions", KCNA said.

Appearing with Kim in a photo posted on his Twitter account, the top diplomat wrote: "Had a good trip to #Pyongyang to meet with Chairman Kim".

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"Most importantly, both the leaders believe there's real progress that can be made, substantive progress that can be made at the next summit", Pompeo said.

"Yeah, so we had a great, great visit this morning", Pompeo replied.

Pompeo's brief visit wasn't expected to resolve critical issues over to get North Korea to disarm or make much progress on a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War. "Thanks for hosting me and my team". "And we had a very successful morning".

"North Korea took some steps towards denuclearisation and the United States will face criticism from the worldwide community if it continues to demand complete denuclearisation without any lifting of sanctions", said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul.

Pompeo's trip to Pyongyang, his fourth this year, followed a stalemate as North Korea resisted Washington's demands for irreversible steps to give up its nuclear arsenal, including a complete inventory of its weapons and facilities.

The North has accused Washington of making "unilateral and gangster-like" demands on denuclearization and has insisted that sanctions should be lifted before any progress in nuclear talks. Trump promised North Korea security guarantees and "new" relations.

The U.S. and Japan have pushed for the North to compile and turn over a detailed list of its nuclear sites to be dismantled as a next step in the process; the North has rejected that. Instead, they want both sides to take a "phased" approach, in which Pyongyang is rewarded as it takes gradual steps to roll back its nuclear program.

Before visiting Pyongyang, Pompeo held talks in Tokyo with Japan's prime minister, and pledged that the Trump administration would coordinate and unify its strategy for denuclearization with its allies.

Pompeo will also visit Beijing Monday as he concludes his four-nation visit to the region.

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