North Korea's Kim invites Pope Francis to visit Pyongyang, Seoul says
10 October, 2018, 04:39 | Author: Edward Snyder
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday cited "fundamental disagreement" with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) during a testy exchange in Beijing that highlighted rising tensions between the world's two largest economies.
"These actions have damaged our mutual trust, cast a shadow over the future of China-US relations, and go against the interests of the people of the two countries", Wang told Pompeo.
A senior U.S. State Department official said the United States still expected cooperation with Beijing on efforts to denuclearise North Korea, whose chief ally is China.
It comes a day after the North Korean leader agreed to hold a second summit with US President Donald Trump "as early as possible", following a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Pyongyang.
He also said Kim had said he was ready to allow worldwide inspectors into North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear testing site and the Sohae missile engine test facility as soon as the United States and North Korea agreed on logistics. Indeed, the only Catholic church in the North is not recognized by the Vatican. Pompeo didn't meet with Kim on that trip. He was quoted as saying that Francis would receive a warm welcome if he visited Pyongyang.
Trump said that in terms of timing, the summit "won't be too far away", later telling reporters it would take place after the November 6 midterm elections.
Pompeo tweeted Monday that he was heading to China to work on a "final, fully-verified" denuclearization of North Korea.
Russian, Chinese, and North Korean officials are now meeting in Moscow to discuss denuclearization and North Korea's diplomatic opening to South Korea.
Stephen Biegun, new USA nuclear envoy who was accompanying the secretary, said he offered on Sunday to meet his counterpart, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui, "as soon as possible" and they were in discussion over specific dates and location.
South Korean President Moon Jae-In thanked Pompeo for his visit and expressed his well-wishes for the potential upcoming summit.
He also accused the United States of making "a series of moves" on Taiwan and "other issues" that he said hurt Chinese sovereignty. "We are not quite there yet".
Kim made a commitment to allow inspectors into both sites when he met South Korean President Moon Jae-in last month, but experts said it was important to have him explicitly reiterate that promise to Pompeo.
However, there were no plans for him to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, which was seen as a sign of worsening relations between the two powers.
In April, he applauded Kim and Moon for their "courageous" step toward unity, saying he prays for "the positive success of the Inter-Korean summit ... and the courageous commitment assumed by the leaders of the two parts to carry out a path of honest dialogue for a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons".
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Pompeo and Kim met privately in Pyongyang for two hours and then at a 90-minute luncheon hosted by the North Korean leader. Pompeo will also visit Beijing on Monday as he concludes his four-nation visit to the region.
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