US, Kim ‘take new step forward’ in fresh meeting

Pauline Gross
October 8, 2018

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement that "Chairman Kim invited inspectors to visit the Punggye Ri nuclear test site to confirm that it has been irreversibly dismantled".

"As President Trump said, there are many steps along the way and we took one of them today", Pompeo told Moon in Seoul, in remarks that offered only a broad assessment of his talks with Kim.

Pompeo and Kim also discussed "denuclearisation steps that will be taken by North Korea and the issue of attendance by the USA government", as well as "corresponding measures" to be taken by the United States, the statement said. The North has rejected that and South Korea has suggested it may not be a necessary next step.

"Together with Mike Pompeo, Kim Jong Un appreciated the positively developing situation on the Korean Peninsula", said KCNA.

If ties between the two countries continued to deteriorate, there could be "profound changes" in the strategic environment for such regional issues as North Korea, China's state-backed Global Times tabloid warned in an editorial.

Following the visit to North Korea - his fourth - Pompeo said Kim had also agreed to arrange a second summit with Trump to take place "at the earliest date possible".

Kim praised their "nice meeting", telling Pompeo via an interpreter following the morning's talks that it was "a very nice day that promises a good future. for both countries".

Last month, the North's foreign minister told the United Nations there was "no way" his country would disarm first as long as tough U.S. sanctions remain against his country.

A US official told reporters traveling with Pompeo that the visit to North Korea was "better than" Pompeo's fraught previous trip to the North Korean capital in July, while adding there was a "long haul" ahead.

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Pompeo told reporters in Pyongyang the two "had a great, great visit" and that Trump sent his regards.

Analysts say Washington may now consider new options as China, Russia and South Korea seek to relax sanctions.

"I've never been involved in an worldwide discussion where there weren't differences of view, not only between governments but inside of governments", he said.

In Tokyo, Pompeo told Abe that the US wanted to work closely on nuclear talks and that he would raise with the North Koreans the issue of Japanese abductees held for decades by the regime.

In South Korea, Pompeo appeared alongside President Moon Jae-in, who said the world wanted to know the results of the Pyongyang meeting, "so if the secretary can disclose the results, please tell us".

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha has given a hint of what a grand bargain between the two countries could look like. US officials have thus far said the penalties will remain in place until the North's denuclearization is fully verified.

North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear testing site, located inside a mountain near the border with China, has been the site of all six of the country's nuclear tests.

Wang Yi, China's foreign minister, said trade disputes, challenges to Chinese sovereignty and criticism of Beijing's domestic and foreign policy had harmed relations.

The US is hoping to get China to support its plan for North Korea's nuclear disarmament.

Other reports by GizPress

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