Pompeo will visit North Korea on July 5 for crucial meeting

Jul 07, 2018, 01:26
Pompeo will visit North Korea on July 5 for crucial meeting

The secretary of state, who will be making his third trip to North Korea, will seek answers after independent researchers and media organisations detailed North Korean efforts to increase fuel production, build more missile launchers and expand a key rocket-engine manufacturing facility.

"There will be specific asks and there will be a specific timeline when we present the North Koreans with our concept of what implementation of the summit agreement looks like", a senior USA defense official told Reuters and other reporters during Defense Secretary James N. Mattis recent trip to China.

During a week-long trip beginning on July 5 from Pyongyang, as part of his continued consultations with North Korea on the denuclearisation issue, the top diplomat will have stops in Tokyo, Hanoi, Abu Dhabi and Brussels, his spokesperson said on Sunday.

"We're in a good spot today, and the secretary's looking forward to having meetings with his North Korean counterparts", she said.

North Korea has consistently refused in past rounds of failed negotiations to provide an inventory of its weapons program, and USA intelligence remains uncertain of how many nuclear warheads North Korea has. "We are not going to confirm or deny any intelligence reports".

The Stanford team has proposed a 10-year roadmap, based on its belief that "North Korea will not give up its weapons and its weapons program until its security can be assured".

Washington and Pyongyang have yet to negotiate a plan for how North Korea will denuclearize. In both trips, the chief US diplomat met with the North's leader.

Pompeo and President Trump are expected to discuss "burden sharing" and "defense spending" at the summit, Nauert said. That led to the North's participation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February and two summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

The trip to Pyongyang will be the first by a senior USA official since Trump's historic meeting with Kim Jong Un in Singapore last month.

Such an arrangement works well for Kim Jong-un, too.

"I don't think it could be done during Pompeo's visit to Pyongyang this time", he said.

"Our goal remains the final, fully verified denuclearization of the DPRK, as agreed to by Chairman Kim in Singapore", according to the statement, referring to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. He also said he trusted Kim to follow through on denuclearization.

Pompeo, who has taken a leading role in negotiations with North Korea, has said it may take years to implement an agreement that would eliminate the nation's nuclear stockpile.

Doubts over North Korea's intentions have deepened amid reports that it is continuing to produce fissile material for weapons.

Some experts have said a one-year program would be hard, with Stanford University's Siegfried Hecker, a leading expert on the North's nuclear program, proposing a 10-year roadmap instead.

He said that if progress was made, the USA was open to expanded future engagement with North Korea, including a possible visit by Kim to the United Nations General Assembly in NY in September and a second summit with Trump.

Cho, the South Korean unification minister, said he felt "deeply moved" upon arrival because he could sense the change in relations in the past few months. "We are going to pursue this, and we will see what happens".