North Korea says denuclearization talks with Pompeo 'regrettable'

Elias Hubbard
July 7, 2018

North Korea has accused the US of undermining the spirit of last month's summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un after what it says were "regrettable" talks with a delegation led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol, dictator Kim Jong Un's top adviser and North Korea's former spy chief, exchanged pleasantries before the second meeting between the two countries.

Both men said they needed to "clarify" certain elements of their previous discussions, but provided no detail.

Kim agreed that the work was important.

Kang In-sung, a Washington-based correspondent for the widely-read conservative publication, had quoted an unnamed diplomatic source who said that President Trump had signed a copy of the CD for Kim, as the North Korean leader had asked about the song during their meeting in Singapore last month.

Nauert said USA and North Korean officials had set up working groups to deal with "nitty gritty stuff", including verification of efforts to achieve denuclearisation, which would be headed on the US side by Sung Kim, a Korean-American who is also ambassador to the Philippines.

Follow-up talks between US Secy of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean officials are due to be held, and Trump said last week, "It will be a total denuclearization, which has already started taking place".

Pompeo left North Korea without meeting directly with leader Kim Jong Un, as he has during previous visits.

Nauert said Pompeo's discussions with North Korean officials also included repatriation of American Korean War remains.

Last month, Kim and Trump met in Singapore and signed an historic joint statement committing Pyongyang to "work towards complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" in exchange for U.S. "security guarantees" and lasting peace in the decades-old stand-off.

A state department spokesperson said Mr Pompeo had been "very firm" in focusing on denuclearisation, as well as on security assurances and another important USA demand - the return of remains of U.S. service personnel from the Korean War.

On the destruction of the missile engine plant, Pompeo said, "We talked about what the modalities would look like for the destruction of that facility as well, and some progress there as well, and then we have laid out a path for further negotiation at the working level so the two teams can get together and continue these discussions".

Both issues are considered essential tests of whether Kim is serious about talks.

"President Trump is committed to a brighter future for North Korea". He added that the Trump administration was committed to reaching a deal under which North Korea would denuclearize and realize economic benefits in return. "There are things that I have to clarify".

Kim Yong Chol later said that "there are things that I have to clarify" to which Mr Pompeo responded that "there are things that I have to clarify as well".

As the day began, Pompeo left the compound to make a secure call to Trump away from potential surveillance, then returned to restart talks and they continued through a working lunch for nearly six hours.

"Of course it is important", Vice Chairman Kim told the U.S. Secretary.

Trump said after the Singapore summit Kim had agreed to send the remains back to the United States, but that still has not taken place.

Pompeo had said before Singapore Trump would reject anything short of "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation".

Nauert said Pompeo and his staff later moved into a working lunch with their North Korean counterparts.

"Our policy hasn't changed", Pompeo's spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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