Published: Thu, October 04, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

USA secretary of state heads to North Korea for nuclear talks

USA secretary of state heads to North Korea for nuclear talks

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit North Korea on Sunday to meet with leader Kim Jong-un and try to push denuclearisation efforts forward, the State Department said.

Kim has committed to give up his country's nuclear weapons although his actions have fallen short of Washington's demands for a complete inventory of North Korea's weapons programs and irreversible steps to give up a nuclear arsenal that potentially threatens the US.

He will then fly to Japan and China to meet his counterparts there, according to the US State Department.

It will be the fourth trip by Pompeo to the long-time United States pariah amid American hopes of reaching an agreement to end North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

Pompeo's return to Pyongyang comes in line with his meeting with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly last week.

"These conversations are going in the right direction, and we feel confident enough to hop on a plane to head there to continue the conversations", she said. He made an earlier trip there, in April, when he was director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

"I'm optimistic that we'll come away from that with better understandings, deeper progress and a plan forward, not only for the summit between the two leaders, but for us to continue the efforts to build out a pathway for denuclearization".

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This will be Pompeo's fourth visit to North Korea since he became secretary of state.

He is expected to discuss a planned second summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump following the previous one in Singapore, June 12.

"In fact, Pompeo and Kim's meeting Sunday could be a make-or-break event for US-North Korea relations - especially if it were to go badly".

Cho said North Korea may have accepted the US proposal to shut down a nuclear weapons plant in addition to the Yongbyon complex that Kim promised to close during his third summit with Moon from September 18 to 20.

Pompeo said the day of the Trump-Kim summit he was hopeful that there would be major North Korean disarmament by the end of Trump's term in January 2021. He said there was unanimous support for this at last week's U.N. General Assembly, even if Russian Federation and China "had some ideas about how we might begin to think about a time when it would be appropriate to reduce them".

North Korea says it first wants relief from punishing worldwide sanctions. "These are possible agreements that I think were made between the two countries prior to Pompeo's visit", he said.

Pompeo stressed that in the meantime, . worldwide sanctions have to remain in place on North Korea, . and added there was unanimous support for the continued sanctions at the recent UN General Assembly.

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