Pompeo emphasizes 'progress' as North Korea pans talks

09 July, 2018, 04:10 | Author: Edward Snyder
  • Mike Pompeo meets with Kim Yong Chol for a second day of talks at the Park Hwa Guest House in Pyongyang North Korea

The statement by an unnamed North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman on Saturday came hours after Pompeo concluded two days of talks with North Korean officials led by Kim Yong Chol.

North Korea said on Saturday its resolve to give up its nuclear programmes may falter after talks with the United States in Pyongyang, contradicting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said progress had been made on almost all key issues.

When asked if he got any closer to setting out a timeline to denuclearize, Pompeo said, "I'm not going to get into details of our conversations but we spent a good deal of time talking. and I think we made progress in every element of our discussions".

That change raised suspicion that the U.S. was softening its demands for the country, an argument that State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert had insisted on Friday wasn't true. He said his discussions had been productive and conducted in good faith, but he allowed that much more work needed to be done.

At the same time, North Korea said it still wants to build on the "friendly relationship and trust" that Trump and Kim created during the Singapore gathering.

On his flight to Pyongyang, Pompeo said both sides made commitments at the Singapore summit on the complete denuclearization of North Korea and on what a transformed relationship between their two countries might look like.

Some officials in the State and Defense Departments and in USA intelligence agencies are anxious that Trump has put himself at a disadvantage by overstating the results of the Singapore summit.

Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the WEF meeting in Davos last year, and US President Donald Trump attended it this year.

The United States State Department said on Saturday that a copy of Elton John's "Rocket Man" CD, to be signed by the president, was not delivered to Kim Jong Un by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

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




Pompeo's visit represents the highest-level meeting between U.S. and North Korean officials since Trump and Kim Jong-un held their unprecedented summit in Singapore on June 12. Trump said after the Singapore summit that Kim had agreed to send the remains back to the United States. Trump pledged a halt to large-scale military drills with South Korea during denuclearization talks with North Korea.

It urged more bold steps from the US, saying that the shorter way to denuclearization is to break away from old ways and build trust in each other.

"These are complicated issues but we made progress on nearly all of the central issues".

Ms Nauert on Saturday told reporters that Mr Pompeo did not meet Mr Kim during this visit to North Korea, but also that they had not expected him to.

Following the highly anticipated June 12 summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, the US President wrote on Twitter that "there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea".

"North Korea expected Pompeo to bring a concrete proposal for security guarantee but it was disappointed as the U.S. side reiterated the old demand that the North should denuclearise first before the USA gives it anything in return".

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.

He characterized the discussions as positive, but hours after he left Pyongyang, North Korea issued an angry statement rejecting what it described as Washington's "gangster-like" demand for rapid nuclear disarmament.

The contrasting comments raised questions over whether North Korea is committed to abandoning the nuclear programs it has developed for decades and has seen as key to its survival.

"What the U.S.is requesting is the cancerous demands from previous administrations that blocked all dialogue processes", the statement read, in the kind of overheated rhetoric that the Kim regime and Trump administration share a fondness for. "Some places, a great deal of progress; other places there's still more work to be done".

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