Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Mike Pompeo says likely to revisit North Korea "before too terribly long"

Mike Pompeo says likely to revisit North Korea Mike Pompeo says likely to revisit North Korea "before too terribly long"
Melinda Barton | 19 June, 2018, 11:36

His latest visit was, unusually, reported by Chinese state media.

Sue Mi Terry, a Korea expert at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, told the South China Morning Post that Kim's recent engagement in diplomacy meant that frequent visits to China and meetings with Xi, rather than phone calls, made sense. A motorcade including sedans, minibuses, motorcycles and a stretch limo with a golden emblem similar to one Kim used previously was seen leaving the airport in the Chinese capital. The vehicles did not appear to be carrying flags.

Chinese state media say North Korean leader Kim will make a two-day state visit starting Tuesday, June 19.

Earlier this year, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un seemed to have accepted that joint exercises-which take place several times a year-would continue.

President Trump took credit for stopping "war games" - referring to large-scale semiannual joint military exercises by the USA and South Korea that the countries are expected to halt as American and North Korean officials hammer out details of a denuclearization deal.

Trump's comments come in the wake of a summit in Singapore with Kim Jong Un that Trump has cast as dramatically reducing the nuclear threat posed by North Korea despite no specific commitments about how it will eliminate its weapons. In April, Kim visited Xi in his first ever foreign visit as head of state, before making another visit the following month.

Mr Trump agreed to work with Mr Kim toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, committed to provide the North's regime with security guarantees and pledged to end "war games", which Pyongyang and Beijing have long seen as provocative.

Meanwhile, the US and South Korea have confirmed they have suspended planning for their next joint military drills. But China has suggested that the Singapore meeting alone was a goodwill measure that should prompt the easing of sanctions.

China has welcomed the warming of ties between Washington and Pyongyang, and offered to help.

It said that Kim and Trump had "shared recognition to the effect that it is important to abide by the principle of step-by-step and simultaneous action in achieving peace, stability and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".

The more than 28,000 U.S. forces serve as a military tripwire against North Korean aggression.

There was no immediate reaction from North Korea. Without the guns in place, it's likely the USA or South Korea would have staged an invasion in place at some point during the decades-long military standoff.

South Korea and Japan are both market economies, democracies and USA allies, and both are threatened by nuclear-armed North Korea, but their relationship is heavily strained by historical and territorial issues.

Kim reportedly took an Air Koryo flight to Beijing, and headed straight to the Diaoyutai state guest house, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.