White House on Xi’s N.K. visit: Focus is on denuclearization


epa07272451 A photo released by the official North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (L) shaking hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) during his visit in Beijing, China, 10 January 2019. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is in China at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping from 07 to 10 January with his wife Ri Sol-ju.  EPA/KCNA   EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Adding weight to the theory is the current stalemate in denuclearization negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang. No working-level talks have taken place since Trump and Kim abruptly ended their second summit in February without an agreement. Trump said last week, however, that he had received another “beautiful” letter from the North Korean leader and that he was in no rush to strike a deal. Asked about Kim’s seriousness about dismantling his nuclear weapons and missile programs, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said both Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “believe” the North Korean leader will “fulfill his commitment to denuclearize.” “That remains our policy,” she said at a press briefing.


Meanwhile, in separate remarks sent to Yonhap, a State Department spokesperson said the U.S. will continue to closely coordinate with other countries, including China, to denuclearize the North. “The United States along with our partners and allies, and other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, including China, are committed to the shared goal of achieving the final, fully verifiable, denuclearization of North Korea,” the spokesperson said. “The United States and the international community have a shared understanding of what final, fully verified denuclearization entails and what meaningful progress toward that goal looks like.” Xi’s trip to North Korea follows four visits by Kim to the neighboring country, which remains Pyongyang’s sole major ally and trading partner. The two countries have been seen renewing their traditionally close ties, which soured after China backed U.N. Security Council sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missile tests in 2017.



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