Pompeo: US ready to ‘immediately’ resume talks with North Korea

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has invited his North Korean counterpart to meet at next week’s United Nations General Assembly following this week’s inter-Korea summit, a meeting that would mark a resumption of talks between Pyongyang and Washington that have stalled recently.

Additionally, he said, the United States has invited North Korean representatives to meet with the U.S. special envoy for North Korea in Vienna “at the earliest opportunity” in light of the “important commitments” North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made this week.

{mosads}“On the basis of these important commitments, the United States is prepared to engage immediately in negotiations to transform U.S.-DPRK relations,” Pompeo said in a statement Wednesday, using the acronym for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“This will mark the beginning of negotiations to transform U.S.-DPRK relations through the process of rapid denuclearization of North Korea, to be completed by January 2021, as committed by Chairman Kim, and to construct a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.”

At their third summit this week, Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced that North Korea agreed to dismantle a missile test site and launch pad in the presence of “international experts.”

Kim also agreed to dismantle North Korea’s main nuclear complex if the United States agrees to “corresponding steps.”

“We have agreed to make the Korean Peninsula a land of peace that is free from nuclear weapons and nuclear threat,” Kim said.

Kim did not specify what reciprocal measures he is looking for from the United States. But North Korea has been demanding the United States sign a joint peace declaration to officially end the Korean War before it will proceed with denuclearization.

In his statement, Pompeo congratulated Moon and Kim on the “successful outcome” of their summit.

The United States welcomes both the commitment to dismantle the Yongbyon nuclear complex and the Tongchang-ri missile site, he added.

Pompeo meeting with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho in New York next week would mark a resumption of U.S.-North Korea dialogue after Pompeo’s trip to Pyongyang in August was canceled by President Trump.

Administration officially have previously said they were aiming for North Korea to take major denuclearization steps by the end of Trump’s first time, which is line with the January 2021 timeline in Pompeo’s Wednesday statement.

U.S. talks with North Korea have faltered after Trump and Kim’s June summit in Singapore, in which Kim made vague promises of denuclearization in exchange for unspecific security guarantees from the United States.

Pompeo’s August trip was canceled after the administration received a letter from North Korea that is said to have been belligerent enough to convince Trump that Pompeo’s trip would not be worth it.

After the cancellation, Kim sent Trump a letter asking for a second summit with him. The White House has said it has begun planning that summit.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump likewise praised the outcome of Kim and Moon’s summit.

“Kim Jong Un has agreed to allow Nuclear inspections, subject to final negotiations, and to permanently dismantle a test site and launch pad in the presence of international experts,” Trump tweeted. “In the meantime there will be no Rocket or Nuclear testing. Hero remains to continue being returned home to the United States. Also, North and South Korea will file a joint bid to host the 2032 Olympics. Very exciting!”

Tags Donald Trump Mike Pompeo

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