Pompeo says won't put timeline on North Korea denuclearization steps

Glen Norman
June 26, 2018

This week Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visits China, South Korea and Japan, where he is expected to discuss implementing North Korea's denuclearization agreement, and the US decision to suspend major joint military drills between the USA and South Korea.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said he will not put a timeline on negotiations for North Korea's denuclearization, contradicting a senior defense official who said Washington would soon present a timeline to North Korea with "specific asks".

"We hope that we will have an ongoing process of making progress", Pompeo said Sunday.

Shortly after the June 12 summit in Singapore, a senior defense official told reporters that the United States would present a timeline to North Korea with specific "asks".

Pompeo told CNN that Trump's decision to suspend U.S. military exercises in the region will continue "only so long as there is a good-faith negotiation progress, productive results being achieved".

He said Washington hoped to achieve major disarmament by North Korea within the next 2-1/2 years, within Trump's current presidential term, which ends on January 20, 2021.

The Pentagon says Pyongyang has indicated several times that they have as many as 200 sets of remains that could be those of United States soldiers who died in the war.

North Korea's state-run media is broadcasting the message of relaxed tensions across the country.

The official went on to say the US will soon know whether or not Kim Jong Un plans to stick with the agreement.

Across the border at a war anniversary ceremony in Seoul, Prime Minister Lee acknowledged that the conflict began "due to North Korea's invasion".

On Monday, Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White walked those comments back in a pair of tweets.

In Singapore Kim and Trump signed a joint statement in which Pyongyang committed to "work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula".

CNN said Pompeo suggested it was too soon to expect a detailed roadmap after 40 years of tensions but insisted that Kim had been "unequivocal" about his willingness to denuclearize.

Pyongyang's tightly controlled official media are normally packed with anti-American invective on June 25, when the North launched a mass invasion of the South in 1950.

The clampdown was disruptive for many residents in the usually placid city-state of 5.6 million - although some observers said hosting the summit amounted to a PR coup that would ultimately benefit Singapore.

He alluded to the rough outlines of an agreement in which North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons program in exchange for security guarantees and economic support.

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