Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

Pompeo shrugs off North Korea's 'gangster' rebuke, cites progress

Pompeo shrugs off North Korea's 'gangster' rebuke, cites progress Pompeo shrugs off North Korea's 'gangster' rebuke, cites progress
Melinda Barton | 08 July, 2018, 16:03

He noted, however, that "there are things that I have to clarify", Reuters reported. Trump has declared on Twitter that North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat.

"We were able to reaffirm our unwavering commitment to the continued strengthening of our trilateral cooperation toward the common goal of North Korea's complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement" of all nuclear weapons and missiles, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono told a joint press conference.

The trip was Mr Pompeo's third to Pyongyang since April and his first since the summit, but unlike others he did not see leader Kim Jong-Un.

Kim, a regime hard-liner who is careful not to act outside North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's instructions, said he needed to "clarify" aspects of his almost three-hour negotiations Friday with Pompeo, a desire the top USA diplomat immediately echoed. The conversations are based on a commitment that Kim Jong Un made last month during the Singapore summit.

Kim Yong Chol said that the two had had "very serious discussion on very important matters yesterday" and joked that as a result, Pompeo "might have not slept well last night" at the prestigious Paekhwawon, or 100 Flowers Garden, guest house.

All along, however, experts had wondered how the United States and North Korea would bridge differences that have bedeviled their talks for decades and only seemed exacerbated under Trump.

"These are complicated issues, but we made progress on nearly all of the central issues, some places a great deal of progress, other places there's still more work to be done", he said, shortly before North Korea gave its far more critical take on the meeting. The report said Trump signed the CD and instructed Pompeo to deliver it with the personal letter.

However, in another twist of approach towards Kim - who Trump once called "Little Rocket Man" - the United States administration renewed its sanctions on North Korea for another year.

Kim asked Pompeo if had slept well, to which Pompeo said he had.

"The North Koreans. understand that President Trump needs a win; he needs to have a good story coming out of his high-risk diplomacy with North Korea going into his delicate and maybe-highly charged negotiations with the Europeans and the Russians next week", she added.

In the days following his historic June 12 summit with Kim Jong-un in Singapore, President Donald Trump had announced that the return of the remains and the destruction of the missile facility had been completed or were in progress.

Earlier reports pointed to progress being made between the two countries, with commitments for new discussions on denuclearisation and the repatriation of the remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean War.

Mr. Pompeo was speaking after emerging from more than eight hours of talks over two days with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's right-hand man Kim Yong-chol in a Pyongyang diplomatic compound.

Pompeo, accompanied by senior State Department and Central Intelligence Agency officials, held several hours of talks on Friday evening and had a working dinner with Kim Yong Chol at which both were "cracking jokes" and "exchanging pleasantries", according to Nauert.

They were due to talk again all day Saturday before Pompeo heads to Tokyo to brief Washington's Japanese and South Korean allies.

US National security adviser John Bolton has taken a hawkish line on North Korea in the past.

He admitted "there's still more work to be done" in other areas.

Nauert said the July 12 meeting, along the border between North and South Korea, would be at a working level and involve US Defense Department officials.

On Sunday, the USA secretary of state will meet the foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea in Tokyo.