Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

Mike Pompeo to meet Kim Jong-Un for more talks on denuclearization

Nellie Chapman | 04 October, 2018, 22:03

North Korea has placed a moratorium on nuclear and missile tests, dismantled parts of weapons testing site, and has pushed for an easing of sanctions before it completely relinquishes its nuclear arsenal.

Her comments came ahead of a visit on Sunday by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to North Korea, where he will meet strongman Kim Jong Un in an effort to further the denuclearization effort.

"I think it shows forward progress and momentum that the secretary is making his fourth trip in less than a year", State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters.

During a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in September, Kim expressed his readiness to close the Yongbyon facility, which is capable of uranium enrichment, if Washington took "corresponding measures".

Both Pompeo and Trump spoke about a second North Korean summit in positive terms last week in NY, while attending the United Nations General Assembly.

Pompeo had previously said last month's inter-Korean summit marked a shift in talks between the United States and North Korea "through the process of rapid denuclearisation of North Korea, to be completed by January 2021, as committed by Chairman Kim, and to construct a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula".

Analysts speculated the US and North Korea may already have reached a consensus to some extent over denuclearization methods and a declaration ending the war.

Asked whether the Trump administration was considering the lifting of sanctions, Nauert said that there had been "no change" in USA policy over the past few months.

The US has not publicly announced its position on an end-of-war declaration, hesitant to do so in the absence of substantial progress on denuclearization.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump held a groundbreaking summit in Singapore in June, where they reached a vague agreement to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, but there has been little movement since.

Nauert said the meetings in Japan, South Korea and China were meant to brief counterparts on the talks in Pyongyang.

Pompeo stressed that in the meantime, . global sanctions have to remain in place on North Korea, . and added there was unanimous support for the continued sanctions at the recent UN General Assembly. He made an earlier trip there, in April, when he was director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

North Korea says it first wants relief from punishing global sanctions.

"In fact, Pompeo and Kim's meeting Sunday could be a make-or-break event for US-North Korea relations - especially if it were to go badly".

Those were the words U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used to describe how he feels about his return to North Korea this weekend to continue denuclearization talks with the regime.