Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Pompeo urges bold N.Korea action to denuclearize

Pompeo urges bold N.Korea action to denuclearize

Last week, US intelligence said the North Koreans had started pulling cables from the tunnels at their nuclear test site - a first step toward closing them.

The US would be "prepared to work with North Korea to achieve prosperity on the par with our South Korean friends", he told reporters on Friday.

KELLY: Pompeo was speaking alongside his South Korean counterpart at the State Department today, which is where we find NPR's Michele Kelemen.

South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) have agreed to hold high-level talks on May 16 at the border village of Panmunjom, Seoul's unification ministry said Tuesday.

He said his talks with Kim Jong Un had been "constructive", "warm" and "good". For about 70 years since the Korean War, the US and North Korea have been hostile to one another. And he used words like warm and substantive, which was a bit surprising coming from this, you know, tough-talking former congressman and Central Intelligence Agency director.

North Korea's key ally, China, said Friday it welcomes the progress made by the US and North Korea in setting up next month's summit between their leaders.

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Pompeo returned on Thursday from Pyongyang, where he met with Kim and helped secure the release of three American prisoners being held in North Korea.

"I think there is complete agreement about what the ultimate objectives are", he said, though declined to offer more detail.

"We had good conversations about the histories of our two nations, the challenges that we've had between us", he said. To the USA, that means the North giving up the nuclear weapons it has already built.

KELLY: All right, to the South Korean foreign minister's visit here today, what message has she brought to Washington? With U.S. help, those countries recovered from the devastation of conflict. Let's take a listen to that.

To resolve humanitarian issues, the two sides will hold a reunion of families separated across the border around the August 15 Liberation Day, when the Korean Peninsula was liberated from Japanese colonial from 1910-45.

KELEMEN: And Kang also says that North Korea shouldn't expect any sanctions relief until it takes visible steps to denuclearize.

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Many observers have warned Kim's regime will try to drive a wedge between the allies as the summit approaches, playing Seoul's fear of war against Washington's nuclear concerns.

Despite the dangers - a derailed Trump-Kim summit might revive the animosity that enveloped the peninsula a year ago - Moon's push has proven wildly popular: A Gallup Korea poll last week measured his approval rating at 83 percent, a striking number in a country deeply divided along ideological and generational lines. They will frame Trump's willingness to meet Kim as a welcome first step along the road to denuclearization; and they will return the gesture with some corresponding concession, such as a freeze on testing nuclear weapons or long-range missiles.

"Pompeo said the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula would require a robust verification" programme by the United States and other countries. He calls it a big undertaking.

"I feel we've a shared imaginative and prescient for what we hope, when this course of is accomplished, the Korean peninsula appears like, I feel we've a very good understanding and I feel there's full settlement of what the last word aims are", Pompeo stated, including that, "we started to work via the modalities of how we obtain that".

Another scenario has Kim seeking a deal where he gives away his ICBMs but retains some of his shorter-range arsenal in return for a reduced US military presence in the South.

The foreign minister also ruled out any easing of sanctions against North Korea in the near future.

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The pair, he said, talked "about how it is he wishes to proceed and if he's prepared, in exchange for the assurances that we're ready to provide him, if he is prepared to fully denuclearize".

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