Pompeo in Pyongyang to flesh out summit deal

Glen Norman
July 7, 2018

Pompeo and his team of US negotiators arrived in Pyongyang just before noon, where he was met by vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) Kim Yong Chol, foreign minister Ri Yong Ho, and director of department at the State Affairs Commission and Kim Jong Un's chief secretary Kim Chang Son.

It was unclear whether Cho would meet with Kim or Pompeo, the unification ministry said. He will spend the night in Pyongyang, his first overnight stay in North Korea.

Pompeo said he plans to discuss denuclearization as a follow-up to an agreement signed by Trump and Kim during their meeting last month.

North Korea has sent officials to Switzerland to scope out venues for a possible second meeting between its leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump, according to a report.

Trump traveled to Singapore for a summit with Kim, and despite receiving no verifiable assurances that that North Korea will denuclearize, he stood side by side with Kim, American and North Korean flags intertwined, giving Kim the legitimacy he and his regime had long sought.

Pompeo would try to agree on at least an initial list of nuclear sites and an inventory that could be checked against the available intelligence, USA intelligence officials told Reuters.

Both issues are considered essential tests of whether Mr Kim is serious about negotiations. "If so, then this expansion is just business as usual for the North Koreans", Schmerler says.

He said relations between the USA and North Korea have "dramatically shifted" in North Korea's favor over the past few months. "Our policy toward North Korea has not changed, we're committed to a denuclearized North Korea". "Moon's popularity is a result of the rapprochement of the United States and North Korea", said Kang Won-taek, a professor at Seoul National University.

"Now the North Korean nuclear and missile threat has (abated) conspicuously".

Shortly after arriving in Pyongyang, Pompeo laughed off reports in the South Korean press that he was carrying an Elton John CD. He landed in Pyongyang for the first time since President Trump met Kim at a summit in Singapore last month.

Trump needs Pompeo to score some points to lay to rest doubts over whether the president, who has already ordered a suspension of large-scale US military drills with South Korea, is hurting the bigger goal of complete denuclearization by being overeager to claim a quick success.

Pompeo's delegation includes State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Alex Wong and U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim.

Pompeo's talks, which resume on Saturday, will be closely watched in the region.

North Korea has said it will not comply with Tokyo's demand for a resolution of the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by the North decades ago unless Japan lifts unilateral economic sanctions, sources close to bilateral ties said Thursday.

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