Pompeo: ‘Significant progress’ made on NKorea denuke trip

Hannah Rogers
October 8, 2018

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang on Sunday before landing in Seoul on a whirlwind diplomatic visit to the region.

Pompeo told Abe that it is important for him to hear from the Japanese leader "so we have a fully coordinated and unified view" and vowed to raise the cases of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea when he sees Kim and officials in Pyongyang on Sunday.

According to the South Korean statement, Pompeo said "he agreed with Chairman Kim to hold the second US-North Korea summit at the earliest date possible".

Pompeo and Kim also agreed to instruct their respective working-level teams to meet soon to intensify discussions on the key remaining issues to deliver on the Singapore Summit Joint Statement.

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 worldwide inspectors to verify they have been dismantled.

As they sat for lunch, Kim said, "It's a very nice day that promises a good future for both countries".

In August, Trump himself said the denuclearization process was moving less smoothly than he'd hoped, and he abruptly cancelled a planned Pompeo trip to North Korea because of this concern.

"Kim Jong Un expressed satisfaction over the productive and wonderful talks with Mike Pompeo at which mutual stands were fully understood and opinions exchanged", North Korean news agency KCNA said. The official indicated some progress was made during the visit, which included a meeting with the North Korean leader, but added: "It's going to be a long haul". "North Korea summit will create good momentum for a breakthrough in the denuclearization and irreversible progress in the peace process on the Korean Peninsula". "It was another step forward", Pompeo said in a meeting with Moon at the Blue House.

The dovish Moon, who held three summits with Kim this year and also brokered the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore, said Sunday the "whole world" was watching with keen interest the outcomes of Pompeo's trip.

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Pompeo replied: "So we had a great, great visit this morning".

America's top diplomat left Tokyo for Pyongyang on Sunday after pledging that the USA will coordinate with allies Japan and South Korea on efforts to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

"North Korea took some steps towards denuclearisation and the U.S. will face criticism from the global 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.

North Korea has been asking for the United States to formally declare that the 1950-1953 Korean War is formally over, as a way to bring an end to hostile relations between the two countries.

This photo taken from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's tweet on October 7, 2018, shows him meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (L) in Pyongyang.

"If you do see concrete action that assures the US, the rest of the world that definitely concrete steps are being taken to eliminate very important parts of their nuclear program, then that's a definite step forward and builds the trust", Kang told The Washington Post in an interview last week.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (R) shakes hands with United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during their meeting at the presidential office in Seoul on October 7, 2018. Soon after the secretary of state left the country on his last visit, North Korea issued a statement lambasting his "gangster-like" demands.

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

Pompeo met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on Saturday, and the two men "agreed that pressure must continue until the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) denuclearizes", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said. He will also travel to Beijing, according to both China and the United States.

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