Pompeo, Japanese counterpart meet on North Korea

Frederick Owens
July 9, 2018

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to Pyongyang was "regrettable", North Korea's Foreign Ministry said Saturday after Pompeo left.

The US secretary of state was on a two-day visit to Pyongyang for high-level talks with Kim Yong-chol, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party Central Committee.

"The U.S. attitude and positions at the high-level talks on Friday and Saturday were extremely regrettable", the Ministry said in a statement, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

Heather Nauert, a spokesperson for the state department, tweeted a number of photos during the talks, including one of a beaming Mr Pompeo pictured after the final meeting.

Meanwhile, North Korea says it disagrees with the USA calls for denuclearization, and called the discussions with Pompeo very concerning. "I expect that the DPRK is ready to do the same", Pompeo said, using the initials for North Korea's official name.

Pompeo said Defense Departmentofficials will meet with North Korean officials on July 12 at the Demilitarized Zone to discuss the repatriation of remains, which North Korea committed to last month.

The secretary has come under increasing pressure to produce results, with Trump having touted the summit as a game-changing moment that eliminated North Korea's nuclear threat.

But rather than the two leaders crowning years of detailed negotiation with their one-on-one meeting, the short statement marked instead the start of a diplomatic long slog and Trump earned the scorn of Korea watchers and non-proliferation experts when he declared the crisis over.

Pompeo has the crucial task of dispelling growing skepticism over how seriously Kim is about giving up his nuclear arsenal and translate the upbeat rhetoric following the first meeting between leaders of the US and North Korea into concrete action.

Prior to North Korea's comments this afternoon, Pompeo had said: "These are complicated issues but we made progress on nearly all of the central issues".

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".

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Pompeo, who was in Tokyo to brief his Japanese and South Korean counterparts on the talks, brushed aside the characterization, saying discussions were continuing in "good faith".

The statement also implied that these moves were greater than the United States' suspension of joint military exercises with South Korea, which it said was "a highly reversible step which can be resumed anytime at any moment as all of its military force remains intact".

The outcome of the latest US-North Korean talks on denuclearization was clearly a matter of perspective. "In other words, after USA troops are withdrawn and U.S".

"These are complicated issues but we made progress on nearly all of the central issues".

"President Trump is committed to a brighter future for North Korea", Pompeo was quoted as having said in the pool report.

The statement rejected what it described as Washington's "gangster-like" demand for rapid nuclear disarmament.

Before arriving in North Korea, Pompeo said he was seeking to "fill in" some details on North Korea's commitments and maintain the momentum toward implementing the agreement from the summit.

"The U.S. just came out with such unilateral and robber-like denuclearization demands as CVID, declaration and verification that go against the spirit of the North-U.S. summit meeting", he added, calling the talks "really disappointing". He stressed that "there's still more work to be done" in others, which will be handled by the working groups.

He noted, however, that "there are things that I have to clarify", Reuters reported.

One hoped-for breakthrough on this trip would have been the return of the remains of USA troops killed during the 1950-53 Korean War.

Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol, dictator Kim Jong Un's top adviser and North Korea's former spy chief, exchanged pleasantries before the second meeting between the two countries.

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