As US, NK resume talks, experts say speedy denuking unlikely

Katie Ramirez
July 7, 2018

The meeting appears to be the first face-to-face contact between USA officials and their North Korean counterparts since President Donald Trump met with leader Kim Jong Un on June 12 in Singapore.

Victor Cha, the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, also told Axios that the Trump administration "needs to get a commitment to a full declaration" and have international experts in North Korea "sealing stuff and installing cameras" to ensure North Korea sticks to its promises.

Van Jackson, a former Pentagon official who now teaches at Victoria University in New Zealand, said that the presence of a respected diplomat like Sung Kim could level the playing field during negotiations with North Korea, adding that Pompeo was using the "best folks he can find in the bureaucracy".

"North Korea has a long history of cheating on agreements that it's made with previous administrations", she said in an interview with CNN's "State of the Union".

The White House refused to comment on media reports saying North Korea was planning to hide its nuclear weapons and missiles programme.

A US official told the Associated Press that the Posts report was accurate and that the assessment reflected the consistent view across USA government agencies for the past several weeks. Pompeo will meet with UAE leaders to discuss ways to further strengthen the US-UAE partnership and advance their common security and economic priorities, Nauert added.

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But it will also take place under the cloud of special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing probe into potential links between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin during the 2016 vote.

Pompeo has already visited Pyongyang twice since April to meet with Kim - the first time when he was still director of the Central Intelligence Agency - and there are discussions about a possible third trip to North Korea late next week but such a visit has not yet been confirmed. Some aspects of the new intelligence were reported Friday by NBC News. The official was not authorized to comment publicly on the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity. USA intelligence agencies became aware of the nuclear facility in 2010.

However, one official pointed out that, despite the assessment, the talks between the USA and North Korea were positive and Kim's decision to destroy a major missile-testing site and suspend nuclear and missile tests were a step forward.

Bolton also conceded that the speed of denuclearization depends on North Korea's cooperation - which is a wild card. Pyongyang has often had its own complaints about Washington over slow delivery of aid and imposition of sanctions. Pompeo would be in Pyongyang from July 5 to 7 to continue consultations and flesh out the agreement reached by President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un in Singapore.

Nauert similarly dodged a question on the specific timeline imposed on North Korea regarding getting rid of its illegal nuclear weapons program.

The Stanford team has proposed a 10-year roadmap, based on its belief that "North Korea will not give up its weapons and its weapons program until its security can be assured".

"North Korea remains free to manufacture more nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles and other weapons of mass destruction - even though it has unilaterally frozen testing of its nuclear weapons and certain ballistic missiles", he said.

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