Pompeo: 'We Continue To Make Progress' With North Korea

Marsha Scott
October 8, 2018

"Secretary Pompeo said he agreed with Kim to hold the second US-North Korea summit as soon as possible", Yoon Young-chan, the senior secretary to President Moon for public relations, said in a press briefing held after a meeting between Moon and Pompeo.

A second Kim-Trump meeting looks increasingly essential, given the lack of progress their subordinates have made since the landmark first-ever North Korea-US summit in Singapore on June 12.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was set to visit Pyongyang on Sunday, his first trip there since a previously planned trip was canceled in August due to what Trump said was insufficient progress and the ongoing USA trade war with China.

In a tweet on Sunday, Trump said: "Progress made on Singapore Summit Agreements!"

Pompeo said he had had a "great visit" and a "very successful morning", adding that Trump sent his regards.

Pompeo met with Kim for about two hours, according to a pool report from CBS' Kylie Atwood, the only USA journalist who accompanied the secretary on his trip. In August, Trump canceled Pompeo's trip to North Korea because they were "not making sufficient progress" in the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, he said.

"It's a very nice day that promises a good future for both countries", Kim told the USA official as they sat down for lunch following the talks.

Pompeo also met with Moon to update him on the efforts to kickstart negotiations over nuclear weapons that were agreed on during June's summit in Singapore between Kim and Trump.

In this October 2, 2018 photo, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the State Department in W. -North Korea summit in Spring.

While in Japan, Pompeo will meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Taro Kono before he heads to North Korea for just hours on Sunday.

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The trip will be Pompeo's fourth to Pyongyang, as the contours of a possibly historic US-North Korea deal take shape. Kim remarked that it was the top US diplomat's fourth time visiting the region, noting, "so I am sure that you wouldn't have those first odd feelings that you would have when you were first coming".

The allies should also consider bringing back the tactical nuclear weapons that the United States withdrew from South Korea in the 1990s to increase pressure on the North and create conditions for mutual nuclear disarmament, Cheon said. He said they would develop options, if not finalize, the location and timing of a second Trump-Kim summit. Pompeo smiled but said nothing in return.

He did not meet Kim during that trip, which ended on poor terms.

But the inter-Korean agreement again failed to stipulate any plans called for by the United States, such as to declare a list of its nuclear weapons, facilities and materials, or a concrete timeline for denuclearization.

The North has committed to taking additional denuclearization steps, such as shutting down its long-range missile engine test site and launching pad in Dongchang-ri on the west coast in the presence of worldwide inspectors and closing its main Yongbyon nuclear complex should the US take "corresponding measures".

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told the U.N. General Assembly late last month that "coercive" sanctions were lethal to trust-building between the two nations and that without trust, "there is no way we will unilaterally disarm ourselves first".

Pompeo's last trip to North Korea fell short of expectations.

Pompeo has repeatedly refused to discuss details of negotiations, including a USA position on North Korea's demand for a declared end to the Korean War and a proposal from Seoul for such a declaration to be accompanied by a shutdown of the North's main known nuclear facility.

The Beijing visit could be tense as it comes days after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence delivered a blistering speech accusing China of military aggression, commercial theft, rising human rights violations, and electoral intervention against Trump.

"This is a busy time diplomatically", said Al Jazeera's McBride.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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