Wednesday, 12 December, 2018


Pompeo says North Korea to let inspectors visit weapons sites

Bennie Garza | 08 October, 2018, 14:45

The US has said that it will not make such concessions unless the North takes substantive steps to do away with nuclear weapons.

Following his arrival in Seoul from Pyongyang on Sunday, Pompeo said at a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in that he had "a good productive conversation" with Kim, in talks which represented "another step forward".

North Korea's state-run news agency KCNA, meanwhile, said Monday that Kim had "expressed his will and conviction that a great progress would surely be made in solving the issues of utmost concern of the world and in attaining the goal set forth at the last talks with the projected second DPRK-U.S. summit talks as an occasion". Mr Pompeo did not meet Mr Kim on that trip.

"We are starting to see a first wave of actions we can take on all four pillars of the Singapore communique", said Biegun, who will serve as Pompeo's pointman in negotiations with the North as well as working with South Korea, Japan, China, Russia and other countries that have an interest in the talks.

"I don't have much to add", Mr Pompeo replied.

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".

Pompeo has repeatedly refused to discuss details of negotiations, including a USA position on North Korea's demand for a declared end to the Korean War and a proposal from Seoul for such a declaration to be accompanied by a shutdown of the North's main known nuclear facility. Soon after the secretary of state left the country on his last visit, North Korea issued a statement lambasting his "gangster-like" demands.

The upbeat tone is a marked difference from Pompeo's last visit to Pyongyang, which saw North Korea slam the United States for "gangster-like" behaviour in its demands for unilateral disarmament.

Mr Moon also said North Korea will "permanently dismantle" its missile engine testing site and launch platform in the northwestern town of Tongchang-ri in the presence of experts from "concerned countries".

"I would certainly expect so", the official said.

Washington and Pyongyang have sparred over the exact terms of the vaguely-worded agreement in Singapore, with the USA pushing to maintain sanctions and pressure against the North until its "final, fully verified denuclearisation".

Trump met Kim in Singapore in June for the first-ever summit between the two countries, resulting in what critics say was only a vague commitment by Kim towards denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

"We can't rule out the possibility that Washington. may move in the direction of partial easing of sanctions based on progress in denuclearisation", he said.

In a summit in April, the leaders of South and North Korea agreed to cooperate in declaring an end to the war this year, saying that they will seek multilateral talks involving the USA and possibly China.

"A new order is being created on the Korean peninsula, and that new order will lead to a new order in northeast Asia", Moon said, noting that the ongoing talks between the various parties were essential for the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and the establishment of permanent peace.

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