Pompeo to meet with Kim Jong Un on Sunday, State Department announces

Charlene Craig
October 7, 2018

US officials have said the sanctions will remain in place until North Korea has "fully" and "verifiably" denuclearized.

The joint celebration comes after South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim's third meeting last month, in which they agreed to mark the summit anniversary with "meaningful" events.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will pay a fresh visit to North Korea on Sunday and meet leader Kim Jong Un to push forward denuclearization efforts, the State Department said.

"We want it fast, but we're not going to play the time game", he said, adding that his reference last month to 2021 was repeating a comment made by the North and South Korean leaders at a summit last month in Pyongyang. Roh died in 2009.

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Pompeo was invited to visit Pyongyang this month during a September 26 meeting with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho.

Trump lamented that his detractors would call him "unpresidential" for making such tremendous and unprecedented strides with the North Korean ruler, but in actuality, there is nothing more presidential than bringing nations together toward peace. Stanford University scholars, including nuclear physicist Siegfried Hecker who visited North Korea's centrifuge facility at Nyongbyon in 2010, wrote earlier this year that North Korea is estimated to have a highly enriched uranium inventory of 250 to 500 kilograms (550 to 1,100 pounds), sufficient for 25 to 30 nuclear devices.

However, three senior United States officials involved in North Korea policy previously told Reuters that no progress has been made in moving towards serious negotiations on eliminating or even halting Mr Kim's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.

Trump has nevertheless appeared keen on a second summit with Kim, even though recent North Korean statements have suggested the two sides are far from narrowing their differences. "He made it clear that Kim Jong Un was determined to ensure the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".

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"Opportunities to engage diplomatically, if they're actually going to be successful, can be warranted, but if there's no sense of progress I should urge the president not to do the meeting", Gardner said. He said there's continuing global support for economic sanctions to remain on North Korea in the meantime.

Ri said North Korea had taken "significant goodwill measures", such as stopping nuclear and missiles tests and dismantling a nuclear test site, but there had been no corresponding response from Washington.

But North Korea has yet to take concrete steps to give up its nuclear arsenal, so there's been no let-up in sanctions that have been imposed to deprive it of fuel and revenue for its weapons programs, and to block it from bulk cash transfers and accessing to the worldwide banking system.

South Korea delegation members, foreground, are welcomed on their arrival at the Pyongyang Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018.

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