Mike Pompeo seeks clarity in denuclearization talks with North K

Saul Bowman
July 10, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump says he's confident North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "will honour the contract we signed & even more importantly, our handshake".

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has brushed off North Korean charges he used "gangster-like" diplomacy in negotiations in Pyongyang, suggesting Kim Jong-un follows Vietnam's path in overcoming past hostilities with the United States. But he tweeted, "Hope Not!"

The secretary of state also said that despite a critical statement released by North Korea's Foreign Ministry on Saturday night, he thought the two sides had made progress during the meeting and that his North Korean counterpart, Kim Yong Chol, negotiated in "good faith" during the meeting.

Update at 2000 KST: This article has been amended with the latest developments on Pompeo's visit North Korean and US officials held a second day of meetings in Pyongyang on Saturday, with both sides saying there several key issues they need to "clarify".

He characterised 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 rebuke from North Korea - and the fact that Pompeo left the talks with little to show for his effort - suggests that Pyongyang, and not the USA, is setting the terms of negotiation.

Kim later said that "there are things that I have to clarify", to which Pompeo responded that "there are things that I have to clarify as well".

But the USA secretary of state said: "If those requests were gangster-like, the world is a gangster".

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.

Following those meetings, Pompeo said the two sides agreed to hold discussions on July 12 on repatriating the remains of US troops.

Pompeo was set to make a secure phone call to debrief U.S. President Donald Trump on the talks, the pool report said earlier in the day. Pompeo, however, said more talks were needed on both.

'Sanctions will remain in place until final fully verified denuclearization as agreed to by Chairman Kim Jong Un has occurred, ' he said.

The North's spokesman said: "We expected that the US side would come with productive measures conducive to building trust in line with the spirit of the North-US summit and (we) considered providing something that would correspond to them".

It dismissed Trump's unilateral order to suspend joint USA and South Korean war games as a cosmetic and "highly reversible" measure and criticised U.S. negotiators who "never mentioned" the subject of bringing the 1953 Korean War to a formal end with a peace treaty.

Pompeo pointed to an incremental development in North Korea's commitment to return the remains of missing American soldiers. State department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said no meeting with Kim had been planned.

According to the Pentagon, North Korean officials have indicated in the past that they have the remains of as many as 200 USA troops.

"The US attitude and positions at the high-level talks on Friday and Saturday were extremely regrettable", the North's Foreign Ministry said in a statement, the South's Yonhap reported. "But Washington should not allow nuclear talks to be held hostage to peace talks or else there could be peace with a nuclear-armed North Korea indefinitely".

Other reports by

Discuss This Article