Published: Sun, October 07, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Pompeo optimistic Pyongyang trip will yield U.S.-North Korea progress

Pompeo optimistic Pyongyang trip will yield U.S.-North Korea progress

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to travel to Pyongyang this weekend to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un; setting the stage for a new round of talks regarding both nations' pledged goal of denuclearizing the region.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters Tuesday that the secretary expects to meet with Kim in Pyongyang.

"I think it shows momentum that he is paying his fourth trip", Nauert told reporters. "Things stand firmly in place, such as the sanctions ... remain in place".

Days later, in an address to the U.N. General Assembly, Ri slammed the US for continuing to pressure the regime with sanctions and declared there was "no way" the North would give up its nuclear program before seeing trust-building steps from the U.S.

He is also scheduled to visit Japan (Saturday) and China (Monday) and meet his counterparts there. It is not clear whom he met with while in the Chinese capital. "In Tokyo, October 6-7, the Secretary will meet with Prime Minister Abe and Foreign Minister Taro Kono".

On the agenda is likely the planning of a second summit between Kim and President Trump.

Kim, a North Korea regime insider who has met with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House, is a former military intelligence chief who could have been responsible for the attack on the Cheonan that killed almost 50 South Koreans on board.

"Clearly, credit goes to President Trump", South Korean foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha said during a CNN interview.

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On Saturday, Mr Trump lavished praise on Mr Kim - considered by human rights groups to be one of the world's most repressive leaders - and said they had fallen "in love" after an exchange of letters. "As you know, Kim Jong Un wrote a attractive letter and asked me for a second meeting".

The Seoul government earlier said that it does not view the money to be spent on the South Korean delegation's trip to the North as a violation of global sanctions on its regime, though it said that close talks have been under way with the United States on the matter.

It will be the fourth trip by Pompeo to longtime U.S. pariah North Korea as the Trump administration looks to end its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Trump himself has said he is in no rush.

"It looks like we'll have a second summit quite soon", he said.

Kazianis said Sunday's meeting between Pompeo and Kim could be a "make or break event" for U.S.

Experts differ about North Korea's sincerity: some like Narang say it has no real interest in disarmament and is instead just milking the process for whatever benefits it can get.

GOP Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, chairman of a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee for Asia, supports stiffer economic restrictions on North Korea and countries that trade with it.

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