United States to North Korea: No Sanctions Relief Until Permanent, Verifiable Denuclearization

Elias Hubbard
May 16, 2018

In North Korea's bombastic rhetoric, "denuclearization" has, for years, been a byword for USA troop withdrawals from South Korea.

Pompeo and Kang were due to give a joint news conference at the State Department later Friday.

Pompeo, who held talks Pyongyang's young leader over the weekend, even said "we have a pretty good understanding between our two countries about what the shared objectives are".

Pompeo spoke alongside South Korean Overseas Minister Kang Kyung-wha, who's in Washington to get a briefing on the highest U.S. diplomat's conferences and to arrange for a Might 22 summit assembly between Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

"I think there is complete agreement about what the ultimate objectives are", he said, after saying that the US objective remains the permanent, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea.

High-level officials from the two sides will meet at Peace House, a South Korean building in Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas, to discuss ways to enforce the Panmunjom Declaration, according to the ministry's press release.

"I think there is complete agreement about what the ultimate objectives are", he explained. Hardliners in the North are believed to see a nuclear weapon as a guarantee against outside efforts to topple the regime, but Trump insists he will not tolerate their growing arsenal.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha stressed that sanctions against Pyongyang would not be lifted until it had taken concrete steps to denuclearise. Amid concerns that North Korea will demand the U.S. withdraw its troops from neighboring South Korea, Kang emphasized that the U.S. military presence there must be "a matter for the U.S. -ROK alliance first and foremost", using an acronym for South Korea's official name, the Republic of Korea.

Mr Pompeo said the U.S. aim was clear - "to ensure that North Korean doesn't possess the capacity to threaten, not only the United States but the world, with nuclear weapons".

KELLY: Talk to me a little bit about the plans for the Trump-Kim summit.

The Trump-Kim summit is scheduled to take place on June 12 in Singapore.

KELEMEN: Well, at least for the U.S.it's, you know, really a deal - what Pompeo said - like none other before it. But he said he thinks Kim has a good understanding of what the USA means by all of that.

North Korea's Foreign Ministry said Saturday that all of the tunnels at the country's northeastern testing ground will be destroyed by explosion, and that observation and research facilities and ground-based guard units will also be removed. Of course that's what we're hearing from the USA side.

"We wish these Americans and their families the best, as they reconnect after a very hard time apart", Pompeo said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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