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US Secretary of State Pompeo in Pyongyang for nuclear talks

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has arrived in North Korea to press Pyongyang for a more detailed commitment to denuclearization following Kim Jong-un’s historic summit with President Donald Trump.

The top US diplomat met with Kim Yong-chol, a senior North Korean official who, along with Pompeo, played a key role in arranging last month’s meeting in Singapore.

Pompeo is accompanied by North Asia experts from the State Department, CIA spy agency and National Security Council and is due to hold talks with senior officials in Pyongyang on Friday and Saturday over denuclearization as well as return of the remains of US troops missing during the Korean war in 1950s.

Ahead of his visit, Pompeo tweeted: Looking forward to continuing our work toward the final, fully verified denuclearization of #DPRK, as agreed to by Chairman Kim. Good to have press along for the trip.

He then wrote in a Friday Twitter message after a phone contact with Trump in the air: The President told me he believes that Chairman Kim sees a different, brighter future for the people of North Korea. We both hope that’s true.

Next stop: Pyongyang. I look forward to continuing my meetings with North Korean leaders. There’s much hard work ahead but peace is worth the effort, his message further read.

Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton, however, does not believe Pyongyang intends to give of its nuclear or ballistic missile weapons program, US-based press report have said citing officials and experts who have spoken to Bolton.

This is while Trump has in recent months redeemed Kim, describing him as very honorable and nice while insisting that the North is no longer a nuclear threat.

Pompeo has also stated repeatedly in recent months that Kim is rational. He has also said he believes that North Korea’s young leader is serious about negotiations.

This is in sharp contrast with Trump’s harsh rhetoric regarding Pyongyang just last year, when he labeled Kim a madman and a murderer of his own people. At the time, Pompeo questioned whether Kim was rational and emphasized, I am hopeful we will find a way to separate that regime from its nuclear arsenal.

Trump tweeted earlier this week, even after new reports alleging North’s continued weapons development: Many good conversations with North Korea � it is going well! If not for me, we would now be at War with North Korea!

Such statements, analysts say, have made Pompeo’s current mission in Pyongyang even more challenging, since they have let the North Koreans know that Trump is so deeply invested in dialogue that he will not declare the endeavor a failure anytime soon, according to The New York Times.

Corralling the president’s rhetoric on North Korea is only a part of Mr. Pompeo’s challenge on this trip, which includes later stops in Tokyo, Hanoi, Abu Dhabi and Brussels, it added.

Ahead of the Singapore summit, Pompeo insisted that Trump would reject anything short of complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization(CVID).

But after Sunday talks between US envoy Sung Kimand and his North Korean counterparts, this CVID language appears to have disappeared from the State Department official rhetoric.

Although it claims that pressure will remain until Pyongyang denuclearizes, in statements this week, it redefined Washington’s objective as the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea.

After this meeting, Pompeo will probably again say that Kim Jong-un is intelligent and trustworthy, which is truly unfortunate, said Sung-Yoon Lee of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University as quoted in Times report. I think we’re headed in the direction of giving up and accepting North Korea as a de facto nuclear state.

But State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert insisted that was not the case.

Our policy toward North Korea has not changed, she said as quoted by the daily. We are committed to a denuclearized North Korea, and Secretary Pompeo looks forward to continuing his consultations with North Korean leader to follow up on the commitments made at the Singapore summit.

Pompeo’s visit to Pyongyang will be closely watched in the region, as he is scheduled to meet with officials from US allies South Korea and Japan in Tokyo on Sunday following his talks with North Koreans.

A spokesman for South Korea’s presidential office would only say Seoul and Washington were working to formulate constructive measures on North Korea’s denuclearization, according to the report.

Source: Press TV


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