Pompeo, North Korean official express need to 'clarify' their positions

08 July, 2018, 02:41 | Author: Kim Reid
  • REUTERS  Joshua Roberts

North Korea's state media have reported the visit of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a day after he arrived in Pyongyang but did not describe the nature of his talks with North Korean officials over the future of the country's nuclear weapons program.

North Korea argued that unilateral demands on complete, verifiable and irrevisible denuclearisation (CVID) was betraying the spirit of last month's unprecedented summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore, which involved an historic handshake between the two leaders but was criticised for being short on detail.

While there have been no nuclear or missile tests since the Singapore summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last month, satellite imagery shows upgrades to the country's Yongbyon nuclear plant.

But while Pompeo on Saturday painted a positive picture of the follow-up talks, North Korean officials accused the USA of trying to unilaterally pressure their country into abandoning its nuclear programme.

"We had anticipated the United States side would come with a constructive idea, thinking we would take something in return", the North Korean statement said.

"However, the attitude of the United States was indeed regrettable", said a statement released by the Korean Central News Agency, citing an unnamed North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman.

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Mr Pompeo had said a Pentagon team would meet North Korean officials on or about July 12 at the border between North and South Korea to discuss the repatriation of remains, and that talks would be held soon on the destruction of North Korea's missile engine testing facility.

"We talked about what the North Koreans are continuing to do and how it's the case that we can get our arms around achieving what Chairman Kim and President Trump both agreed to", Pompeo said.

The official also mentioned that leader Kim Jong-un's letter for Trump was given to Pompeo, saying that he voiced confidence that the trust and friendship built through the Singapore meeting will deepen through talks that the two countries will have going forward.

"We did have very serious discussions on very important matters yesterday", Kim said.

"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. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said no meeting with Kim Jong Un had been planned.

The motorcade carrying U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo drives towards Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang, North Korea, Friday, July 6, 2018.

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"There is perhaps a two-to-three-month window over the summer to do so before Washington will need to return the focus back to maximum pressure", Cronin said, referring to a USA -led drive to press North Korea to give up its arms programmes through tough global sanctions, from which Pyongyang has been seeking relief.

Pompeo, however, said that more talks were needed on both. "So thinking about those discussions you might have not slept well last night".

Pompeo, who was on his third visit to Pyongyang, began the outreach when he was still Trump's Central Intelligence Agency director and remained the pointman on negotiations after the process became public and he became secretary of state.

Pompeo left the negotiations venue to make a secure phone call to update President Donald Trump on the talks, the report said. But except for hardcore Trump followers, most foreign policy mavens says his methods won't work against the experienced bait and switch policy North Korea has followed for years in what it perceives as its national interest.

"Particularly, they have suggested that they are disappointed by the U.S. insistence on focusing on the denuclearisation plans over what they described as big-picture issues", she said.

Pompeo and Kim met for almost three hours Friday and then had dinner amid growing skepticism over how serious Kim Jong Un is about giving up his nuclear arsenal and translating the upbeat rhetoric following his summit with Trump into concrete action. North Korea committed at the summit to the "immediate repatriation" of remains already identified, but that hasn't happened yet.

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