Pompeo says North Korea ready to let inspectors into missile, nuclear sites

Geneva Stokes
October 8, 2018

Pompeo said he and Kim had gotten "pretty close" to fixing the logistics for the summit but stressed that "sometimes that last inch is hard to close".

Since Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un met in Singapore in June, US-North Korea relations have stalled.

"Most importantly, both the leaders believe there is real progress that can be made, substantive progress that can be made at the next summit and so we are going to get it at a time that works for each of the two leaders and at a place that works for both of them", he said.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi aired their grievances in the open on Monday during a brief visit to Beijing by Washington's top diplomat, amid worsening relations.

"We continue to make progress on agreements made at Singapore Summit", Pompeo tweeted.

Mr Pompeo described his fourth trip to the North Korean capital as "another step forward to denuclearisation".

Pompeo declined to comment whether there was progress on a shutdown of the Yongbyon site.

Specifically, Pompeo revealed that North Korea agreed to allow worldwide inspectors to survey their nuclear and missile testing sites.

Pompeo identified Punggye-ri as one of the testing sites mentioned in their conversations.

In July, satellite imagery indicated the North has begun dismantling the engine test site in Tongchang-ri, but without allowing outsiders access for verification.

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Pompeo and Kim also discussed "denuclearisation steps that will be taken by North Korea and the issue of attendance by the U.S. government", as well as "corresponding measures" to be taken by the United States, the statement said. The statement did not provide further details.

In Pyongyang on Sunday, Pompeo and Kim met for about 3 1/2 hours, first in a business session and then in a 90-minute luncheon that the North Korean leader hosted at a state guesthouse.

Before reporters were ushered from the room, Pompeo focused instead on what the two sides agreed on: the importance of denuclearizing of North Korea.

But it did not mention any inspection-related issue.

Pompeo told South Korean President Moon Jae-in that the meeting was "another step forward" in the denuclearisation process.

A USA official who was part of Pompeo's delegation said the trip was "better than last time" but also said "it's going to be a long haul".

North Korea has called on the United States to actively engage in talks on declaring an end to the Korean War, which was halted in 1953 with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

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.

"We hope the United States and China can meet each other halfway and conscientiously fulfil the important consensus reached by the leaders of both countries", Yang said.

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