Pompeo seeking progress in North Korea as United States struggles to craft strategy

Aaron Brown
July 6, 2018

President Donald Trump is hoping to keep North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un at the negotiating table with the help of Sir Elton John.

"The "Rocket Man" CD was the subject of discussion during Trump's lunch with Kim", a diplomatic source told the news outlet referring to the historic summit last month.

The State Department, meanwhile, was mum Friday on the deeper details of Mr. Pompeo's visit to Pyongyang, the secretary of state's first visit with North Korean officials since the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore three weeks ago. Pompeo himself has previously said the USA wanted North Korea to take "major" disarmament steps in the next two years before Trump completes his first term in office.

Now, he'll be able to hear the tune, and maybe return the favor with a mix tape.

Pompeo said he was seeking to "fill in" some details on North Korea's commitments and maintain the momentum towards implementing the agreement from the summit, according to the pool report.

A peace treaty between the US and North Korea would end the 1953 Armistice Agreement, which would strengthen North Korea's argument for American troop withdrawal, Asahi Shimbun said.

It is unclear whether he will meet Mr Kim in person.

But the USA ability to verify the accuracy of any North Korean list is limited due to the lack of a "high confidence" accounting of the North's nuclear arsenal, such as the number of warheads and uranium enrichment facilities, especially if they are not operational, they said.

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Cronin says it now falls to Pompeo and his team to hammer out a precise accord with specific nuclear and missile sites to be locked down or destroyed, a timetable for significant dismantlement steps, and serious verification of actions on the ground.

Reuters reported on Thursday that South Korean officials had been offering advice to their US counterparts on how to deal with these issues, with one senior official from Seoul visiting Washington this week and suggesting that the United States move away from its aim of "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization" towards a softer approach, according to the news agency.

On the trip this week, Pompeo will meet with Kim and other officials, according to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

"Take THAAD out, the North Korean nuclear threat is gone", one banner reads as a group of 40 men and women in their 60s, 70s and 80s walk past a wall painted "No Nukes, No THAAD".

Meanwhile, US National Security Adviser John Bolton said Sunday that he expects Pompeo to discuss with the North Koreans a plan to dismantle the nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs in a year.

The refrain ironically references what Washington would feel about denuclearizing North Korea: "And I think it's gonna be a long, long time, till touch down brings me round again to find".

While many South Koreans have welcomed the reduced tensions with North Korea as Washington and Pyongyang talk about ending decades of hostilities, the village of Soseong-ri is anything but peaceful.

Doubts over the North's intentions have grown amid reports it is continuing to expand facilities related to its nuclear and missile programs and that USA intelligence is skeptical about its intentions to give up its weapons. "We're all keeping a close eye".

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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