Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Pompeo: 'Progress on agreements' after meeting Kim in N. Korea

The trip to Pyongyang will be Mike Pompeo's fourth overall and first visit since July when he spent the night and left with little to show for his journey Yazidi activist Nadia Murad wins joint Nobel Peace Prize for anti-rape efforts
Lisa Bryan | 08 October, 2018, 10:30

"I am really pleased for this opportunity. It was another step forward", Pompeo said in a meeting with Moon at the Blue House. "Thanks for hosting me and my team". Both men spoke through translators. Despite the historic meeting, the two sides are deadlocked over how to achieve that goal and Trump canceled Pompeo's initial planned return to North Korea last month.

The North also has accused Washington of making "unilateral and gangster-like" demands on denuclearisation and insisted that sanctions should be lifted before any progress in nuclear talks.

Moon had his own third summit with Kim last month in Pyongyang, which was partly meant to help salvage the stumbling negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington, after Trump called off Pompeo's planned visit to the North in late August citing lack of progress.

Earlier, he had tweeted that he had "had a good trip to Pyongyang to meet Chairman Kim".

Pompeo's trip to Pyongyang occurred amid negative signals from North Korea whose actions have fallen short of Washington's demands for a complete inventory of its nuclear weapons and irreversible steps to give up an arsenal that potentially threatens the United States. "I thought we had a good, productive conversation, and as President Trump has said, there are many steps along the way, and we took one of them today, another step forward".

Pompeo told reporters in Pyongyang the two "had a great, great visit" and that Trump sent his regards.

Kim said the bilateral dialogue would continue to develop "based on the deep confidence between the two leaders", and expressed gratitude to Trump for making a honest effort to implement the agreement made at their June summit, KCNA said. He won't stay overnight, according to State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, but she said this week he would meet with Kim.

"They also discussed the upcoming second summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim and refined options for the location and date of that next summit", the statement read.


In Seoul, before leaving for talks with Chinese officials in Beijing, Pompeo said Kim is expected soon to name deputy foreign minister Choe Son Hui as a counterpart for his new special envoy for North Korea, former Ford executive Stephen Biegun, who accompanied him on the trip.

Trump is pressing 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.

In addition, Kim invited inspectors to visit the Punggye Ri nuclear test site to confirm that it has been irreversibly dismantled, the State Department said. North Korea had committed to this previously but has been resistant to allowing global inspectors to visit sites it has claimed have been dismantled.

North Korea "can point to things that Trump has said and done to, in a way, undermine his own advisers at every turn", said Sue Mi Terry, a former senior Korea analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency and now a senior fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

The US secretary of state and the North Korean leader also discussed "denuclearization steps".

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.

"South Korea seems overly eager to improve relations and offer benefits to North Korea without requiring commensurate progress in reducing the North Korean security threat", said Klinger. "We continue to make progress on agreements made at Singapore summit".

That is not how Pyongyang sees things, nor is it the approach being advocated by Seoul. Kim's regime has said it wants to focus on more than just its nuclear program, and that it expects the U.S.to show some flexibility with its demands. But Trump called off the trip a day later, saying North Korea hadn't made sufficient progress toward denuclearization. The war concluded with an armistice but no peace treaty.

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