Secretary of State Pompeo, “I slept fine”, his NKorean Counterparty Not So Well
- NKorea accused Washington of pressuring the country into abandoning its nukes.
Secretary of State Pompeo wrapped up 2days of talks with senior NKorean officials without meeting NKoresn leader Kim Jong Un, but with commitments for new discussions on denuclearization and the repatriation of the remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean War.
Before departing Pyongyang, Secretary Pompeo told reporters that his conversations with NKorean official Kim Yong Chol had been “productive,” conducted “in good faith” and that “a great deal of progress” had been made in some areas. He stressed that “there’s still more work to be done” in other areas, much of which would be done by working groups that the two sides have set up to deal with specific issues.
Secretary Pompeo said that a Pentagon team would be meeting with NKorean officials on or about 12 July at the border between North and South Korea to discuss the repatriation of remains and that working level talks would be held soon on the destruction of NKorea’s missile engine testing facility.
“We now have a meeting set up for July 12, it could move by one day or two where there will be discussions between the folks responsible for the repatriation of remains. It will take place at the border and that process will begin to develop over the days that follow,” he said as he boarded his plane for Tokyo.
The trip was Secretary Pompeo’s 3rd to Pyongyang since April and his 1st since the Trump-Kim Summit.
Unlike his previous visits, which have been one-day affairs during which he has met with Kim Jong Un, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said no meeting with Kim Jong Un had been planned.
As they began their talks Saturday, Kim Yong Chol alluded to the fact that Secretary Pompeo and his delegation had stayed overnight in Pyongyang.
“We did have very serious discussions on very important matters yesterday,” Kim said. “So, thinking about those discussions you might have not slept well last night.”
Secretary Pompeo, who spoke with President Trump, national security adviser John Bolton and White House chief of staff John Kelly by secure phone before starting Saturday’s session, replied that he “slept just fine.”
He added that The Trump Administration was committed to reaching a deal under which NKorea would denuclearize and realize economic benefits in return.
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