Pompeo says he hopes N.K. takes different position in talks

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday he hopes North Korea takes a different position when the two sides resume nuclear talks. In a series of interviews with U.S. media outlets, the top U.S. diplomat also expressed hope the talks will begin “soon.” The comments come after U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to continue negotiations within several weeks of their impromptu meeting at the inter-Korean border on June 30. With no announcement yet on the date or venue, North Korea has warned that the talks’ resumption could be “affected” by South Korea-U.S. military exercises planned for next month.

“The State Department’s had a number of conversations with the North Koreans,” Pompeo told Fox News. “Chairman Kim committed to getting our teams back to the negotiating table. I hope that we will. I hope when they show up, they take a position that’s different.” He didn’t elaborate but added that the task is “simple” in that the North Korea leader had already committed to denuclearize during his first summit with Trump in Singapore in June 2018. Negotiations stalled after the second summit in Vietnam in February ended without a deal. “We’ve had a number of conversations left,” Pompeo said. “It’s time to begin to deliver on that, so that the North Korean people can in fact have that brighter future that President Trump has talked about now for a year and a half.”

At the Singapore summit, Trump and Kim agreed to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for U.S. security guarantees. The second summit collapsed after the U.S. rejected what it described as a North Korean offer to dismantle only its main nuclear complex in Yongbyon in exchange for major sanctions relief. Pompeo told CBS that the third meeting inside the Demilitarized Zone was “really something.” “The president very much wanted to meet again with Chairman Kim,” he said, asserting that North Korea was launching intercontinental ballistic missiles and conducting nuclear tests when the Trump administration came into office in 2017.

“So he wanted to meet with him one more time, and they got a chance to do it when he was headed up to the DMZ — the boundary that demarcates the North from the South — and he wanted to talk to him about the opportunity for North Koreans to live a better future and have a brighter life,” Pompeo said. “And so when he stepped across, the first time that a president had stepped across that boundary, it was historic, and just as importantly, it opened up an opportunity for us to continue the negotiations, which I hope will begin soon, and which are aimed squarely at denuclearizing North Korea in a way that presents a lot less risk for the entire world,” he added.

By Lee Haye-ah

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