Pompeo backs away from denuclearization goal for North Korea
06 October 2018, 03:54 | Erica Roy
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to North Korea for fresh denuclearisation talks
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to North Korea next week to meet with its leader, Kim Jong-un, the State Department said Tuesday.
"Everyone recognises that we have a lot of work that is left to be done", she said.
Pompeo's visit comes ahead of a planned second summit between Kim and President Donald Trump.
Kim, who as leader has rarely traveled outside of North Korea, met in June in Singapore with Trump in the first-ever summit between the two countries that have never signed a peace treaty to formally end their 1950-53 war.
Nauert said the stops in Japan, South Korea and China were meant to brief counterparts on the Pyongyang talks. North Korea said it would allow outside experts to observe the dismantling of a missile engine test site and a rocket launch pad, and might dismantle its main Nyongbyon nuclear complex if the United States takes unspecified corresponding measures.
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The stalled denuclearization talks were put back on track after North Korea offered to dismantle its major nuclear complex in Yongbyon if the U.S. took corresponding measures at the inter-Korean summit last month. Pompeo has been a vocal advocate of maintaining maximum pressure and sanctions on North Korea until it has made clear and significant moves to denuclearize.
Trump's diplomatic overtures are building the trust that will make North Korea feel comfortable with making concessions and joining the rest of us in the 21st century.
On Pompeo's third visit in July, Kim stood him up and his regime issued a sharply critical statement.
Asked whether the Trump administration was considering the lifting of sanctions, Nauert said that there had been "no change" in United States policy over the past few months. And nothing since then-up to and including the recent meeting between USA and North Korean officials on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York-has indicated otherwise.
"The perception that sanctions can bring us on our knees is a pipe dream of the people who are ignorant of us", North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said in a speech to the UNGA on Saturday.
Critics have pointed out that the Singapore declaration contained no firm commitments from North Korea to dismantle its nuclear and missile programs and United States officials have expressed frustration at North Korea's evasion of sanctions. "And we would go back and forth", Trump said during a rally in West Virginia.
"They really have the potential" to be an economic power, Trump said. "As you know, Kim Jong Un wrote a attractive letter and asked me for a second meeting".
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