Date
17 December 2018
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that he had invited North Korea’s foreign minister for a meeting in New York next week. Photo: Reuters
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that he had invited North Korea’s foreign minister for a meeting in New York next week. Photo: Reuters

US ready to resume N Korea talks, seeks denuclearization by 2021

The United States is ready to resume talks with North Korea, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday after Pyongyang pledged to dismantle its key missile facilities and suggested it would close its Yongbyon nuclear complex if Washington took unspecified actions.

Pompeo said he had invited North Korea’s foreign minister to meet in New York next week, with the aim of completing its denuclearization by January 2021, Reuters reports.

In addition to inviting minister Ri Yong Ho to meet when both are in New York next week for the annual UN General Assembly gathering of world leaders, Pompeo said Washington invited Pyongyang’s representatives to meet the US special representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, in Vienna at the “earliest opportunity.”

Pompeo cited Kim’s decision to “complete the previously announced dismantlement of the (Dongchang-ri) site in the presence of US and international inspectors as a step toward the final fully verified denuclearization of North Korea.”

The announcement by Pompeo suggests that Washington is keen to seize on commitments made by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un during a summit this week with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Reuters noted.

North Korea will allow experts from “concerned countries” to watch the closure of its missile engine testing site and launch pad at Dongchang-ri, Moon said at a joint news conference with Kim on Wednesday after their meeting in the North Korean capital.

North Korea will also take additional steps such as closing its main Yongbyon nuclear complex if the US undertook unspecified reciprocal measures, Moon added.

North Korea’s promise at the Pyongyang summit drew an enthusiastic response from US President Donald Trump.

Speaking before Pompeo’s comments, Trump‏ welcomed Kim’s pledges, calling them part of “tremendous progress” with Pyongyang on a number of fronts, and hailing “very good news” from the summit between the Koreas.

The sudden revival of diplomacy followed weeks of doubts within the Trump administration about whether North Korea was willing to negotiate in good faith after a June summit between Trump and Kim yielded few tangible results. 

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RC

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