Mike Pompeo optimistic his North Korea trip will bring progress

07 October, 2018, 14:39 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un at their summit in Singapore

On Friday, they will take part in the first-ever joint event to celebrate the 11th anniversary of the 2007 summit held in Pyongyang between then-South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and then-North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

He has held summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and with President Donald Trump, who hopes to persuade Kim to relinquish the nuclear weapons that pose a potential threat to the USA homeland.

According to South Korean government reports, North is believed to have produced 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of weaponized plutonium, enough for at least eight bombs.

"Watchers say the Pyongyang media may have intentionally dropped Ri's contact with the US and Japan due to the sensitivity of the North's relations with the two countries".

The meeting between Pompeo and Kim may also chart a possible second meeting between the two leaders.

Even some skeptics, though, acknowledge that the current dialogue has brought rewards in terms of an end to nuclear and missile testing and reduced tensions.

"Secretary Pompeo accepted Chairman Kim's invitation to travel to Pyongyang to make further progress on the implementation of commitments from the U.S. - DPRK Singapore summit, including the final, fully verified denuclearization of the DPRK", State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said at the time.

US officials have said the sanctions will remain in place until North Korea has "fully" and "verifiably" denuclearized.

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The South Korean delegates will also tour major North Korean facilities and attend a performance of the North's iconic mass games.

"They really have the potential" to be an economic power, Trump said. It's unclear whether they will meet Kim before returning home on Saturday.

North Korea, Lee stressed, was willing to give up its nuclear weapons for peace and prosperity.

But North Korea has yet to take concrete steps to give up its nuclear arsenal, so there's been no let-up in sanctions that have been imposed to deprive it of fuel and revenue for its weapons programs, and to block it from bulk cash transfers and accessing to the global banking system.

Pompeo was invited to visit Pyongyang this month during a September 26 meeting with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho. But he added that much work remains to be done and that the sanctions against the DPRK will stay in place "until denuclearization occurs".

This photo provided by joint press corps shows Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon (L) walking along with ruling party leader Lee Hae-chan and other delegates to board a plane bound for Pyongyang in Seongnam, south of Seoul, on October 4, 2018.

The South Korean unification ministry's online portal had information on Kim on pages with information on the Cheonan sinking and the bombardment of South Korea's Yeongpyeong Island, but a page on Kim was recently deleted, local television network Channel A reported Thursday.

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