Pompeo heads to North Korea ahead of Trump-Kim talks

Clay Curtis
May 9, 2018

"Hopefully, a deal will happen". Pompeo previously traveled to meet with Kim about a month ago, but that meeting had been kept secret.

Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi also spoke by phone Tuesday. He said that as long as relevant parties eliminate their hostile policy and security threat toward the DPRK, denuclearization can be achieved. At the time, Trump said "a good relationship was formed" between the two men.

Trump broke the news while announcing his plans to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement.

"We are not going to head down the path we headed down before", Mr. Pompeo said, in an apparent reference to past attempts at diplomacy with North Korea that saw Pyongyang commit to abandoning its nuclear weapons and programs but never following through. "It would be a great thing if they are".

Speaking to reporters traveling with him to North Korea, Pompeo said that while he will raise the plight of the three detained U.S. citizens on his trip, and he hopes North Korea will "do the right thing", the regime has not committed to their release. "17 months", according to a transcript provided by the State Department of his remarks to reporters aboard his plane. We're trying to set out the conditions for that today, and this will be a part of that process.

"I think it would be a great gesture if they would agree to do so", Pompeo said, adding that it would be hard to hold a leaders' summit if the prisoners remained captive.

"We think relationships are building with North Korea", Trump added.

Noting that this was Kim's second trip to China in just over 40 days, Xi praised the state of "strategic communication" between China and North Korea, formally known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). If he does see Kim again, he would be only the second secretary of state to sit down with a North Korean leader. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met Moon on April 27 and Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this week.

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Chinese media quoted Mr Kim as saying he hoped "phased and synchronised" measures would be taken to realise denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula.

"From now on, based on our deep mutual trust, we'll make bold steps toward peace and prosperity, and unification", Moon said.

"We are not going to do this in small increments, where the world is essentially coerced into relieving economic pressure", he warned. Pompeo's visit to Pyongyang aims to lock down the date and venue for a formal announcement to be made.

North Korea on Wednesday called on the United Sates to show sincerity and restrain from words and acts that could ruin the atmosphere for dialogue ahead of an unprecedented summit between the two countries.

In addition to discussing details of the pending summit, many believe another agenda item for Pompeo is discussing the release of three American captives.

The president had suggested that release of the prisoners might be forthcoming in tweets last week.

Regarding the possibility of trilateral meetings among the United States and the two Koreas, Derek Grossman, a senior defence analyst at the Rand Corporation, told the Post that any such meetings would help force the US and South Korea to agree on how to negotiate North Korea's denuclearisation.

The U.S. president is scheduled to meet at the White House on May 22 with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who also recently met with Kim.

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