Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

U.S. secretary of state unconcerned over 'gangster-like' N Korea talks

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Kim Yong Chol second from right in Pyongyang on July 7 Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Kim Yong Chol second from right in Pyongyang on July 7
| 09 July, 2018, 06:18

Some U.S. experts said the disputes highlight the risk of Trump granting premature concessions to North Korea.

US Department of State spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Pompeo did not meet Kim, as he had done on his two previous visits to North Korea this year, but handed over a letter to him from Trump.

The statement claimed the two countries' gestures of goodwill since the summit were lopsided in their significance, comparing North Korea's "irreversible step" of dismantling its nuclear test site with the American move to suspend military exercises, "which can be resumed any time at any moment".

Pompeo said his meeting with Kim Yong Chol, a vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, produced progress and they talked "a great deal" about a potential timeline for the denuclearization process.

"Of course, it is important".

"I would like to pay my tribute to the strong leadership you have demonstrated in negotiating with North Korea", Abe said when he met Pompeo at his residence in Tokyo.

"I am convinced that he understands the commitment he made, and I am hopeful we will find a path forward to achieve that commitment that Chairman Kim himself made personally to President (Donald) Trump, and the world, in a signed agreement".

In comparison to past worldwide nuclear disarmament negotiations, and indeed to most major power diplomacy, the discussions between Washington and North Korea on thawing ties and dismantling the North's arsenal appear to be proceeding in reverse.

Arriving on Friday for his third visit and first overnight stay, he left en route to brief his Japanese and South Korean counterparts in an upbeat frame of mind on Saturday.

North Korean officials, however, said some of the issues the USA raised were the same issues that sank previous talks of denuclearization.

Following Pompeo's remarks before departing Pyongyang, North Korea's foreign ministry said the talks with Pompeo were "regrettable" and accused the US of making unilateral demands for denuclearization, The Associated Press reports.


"People are going to make stray comments after meetings", Pompeo said.

Those include the formation of working group to determine exactly how North Korea's denuclearization will be verified and a Thursday meeting with Pentagon officials to discuss the return of remains of Americans soldiers killed during the Korean War.

In criticizing the talks with Pompeo, however, it carefully avoided attacking Trump personally, saying "we wholly maintain our trust toward President Trump, ' but stressed that Washington must not allow 'headwinds" against the 'wills of the leaders'.

Leading US senators expressed concern about North Korea's harsh words and urged the Trump administration to keep up the pressure on Pyongyang.

"The United States has been clear on what we seek from North Korea.", Pompeo said in Hanoi.

Mr Pompeo's meeting with Japan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Taro Kono and South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha followed two days of talks in Pyongyang that ended yesterday.

And he said some progress had been made towards agreeing "the modalities" of North Korea's destruction of a missile facility.

"These are complicated issues, but we made progress on nearly all of the central issues", Pompeo said before boarding a plane to depart North Korea, according to a pool report.

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

The talks were held at a large villa inside an official compound in Pyongyang, close to the imposing mausoleum where North Korea's former helmsmen Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il - the current leader's grandfather and father - lie in state.

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