Pompeo calls for N.K. sanctions implementation in talks with Russia


U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday he emphasized the need to maintain sanctions on North Korea in talks with his Russian counterpart. Pompeo met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi to discuss cooperation on various issues, including Iran, Venezuela and North Korea. At a joint press conference after the meeting, Pompeo said the two countries agree on the goal of North Korea’s denuclearization and will continue to discuss it. “I underscored that we must maintain full implementation of the U.N. sanctions until the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea is achieved,” he said. “Our two teams have been working very closely together on this in a very productive fashion.”


The U.S. and Russia have demonstrated gaps in their view of how denuclearization should be achieved, with Washington insisting on continued pressure and Moscow advocating an easing of U.N. sanctions in exchange for denuclearization steps. Lavrov said Russia is “promoting dialogue” between Washington and Pyongyang and is “prepared to support such a dialogue.” But he noted that North Korea expects concessions from the U.S. “Naturally we highlighted that the leadership of DPRK expects certain guarantees of security of their country reciprocated by denuclearization, and that denuclearization should be expanded over the whole of the Korean Peninsula,” the minister said through an interpreter. DPRK stands for North Korea’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.


North Korea has expressed its commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, not just the North, apparently seeking the removal of the U.S. nuclear umbrella over South Korea. “We are positive that in the end we should strive to create a strong mechanism of peace and stability in Northeast Asia,” Lavrov added. U.S.-North Korea talks have stalled since their second summit in Vietnam in February collapsed without any agreement. Last month North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held his first summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok. That meeting was seen as an attempt by Kim to leverage his ties with Putin to secure sanctions relief, a mission he failed to achieve during his latest summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.



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