Pompeo Faces 'Extraordinary Challenge' on NoKo Denuclearization Timeline — Ex-CIA Officer

Pompeo Faces 'Extraordinary Challenge' on NoKo Denuclearization Timeline — Ex-CIA Officer

Pompeo Faces 'Extraordinary Challenge' on NoKo Denuclearization Timeline — Ex-CIA Officer

Among the things he packed were two gifts from President Donald Trump to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un: a letter from Trump and an Elton John CD with the 1972 hit song Rocket Man, according to The Chosun Ilbo, citing unnamed Washington sources. But evidence has emerged suggesting North Korea has not abandoned its nuclear ambitions.

North Korea has yet to deliver these remains or provide evidence of further denuclearization steps taken following the summit.

North Korea has consistently refused in past rounds of failed negotiations to provide an inventory of its weapons program, and US intelligence remains uncertain of how many nuclear warheads North Korea has.

Mr. Pompeo was greeted Friday night North Korea time at a Pyongyang airport by Kim Yong-chol, a top aid to Mr. Kim, after which two reportedly met for almost three hours and made plans to meet again Saturday. "We both hope that's true", Pompeo said on Twitter after a phone call with Trump as he headed for North Korea.

A statement from the Secretary of State released before his arrival in the DPRK capital said the visit would see him "fill in some details" on the commitments outlined in the June 12 agreement and "continue the momentum towards implementation". The words "nuclear", "weapons", and "denuclearization" were not used in their opening remarks to each other.

Pompeo would try to agree on at least an initial list of nuclear sites and an inventory that could be checked against the available intelligence, US intelligence officials told Reuters. Pompeo joked once the meeting started that if he comes again after this, his third trip to North Korea this year, he will have to start paying taxes.

Other negotiators traveling with Pompeo include Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian & Pacific Affairs Alex Wong, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Randall Schriver, and Korea specialist and member of the White House National Security Council Allison Hooker. "Our policy toward North Korea has not changed, we're committed to a denuclearized North Korea".

It says pressure will remain until North Korea denuclearizes, but in statements this week, it redefined the USA goal as "the final, fully verified denuclearization" of the country.

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"So far principal results of Singapore summit have been to sow doubts about U.S. commitment to its South Korean ally, to weaken sanctions on NK, and to raise questions about USA seriousness given enormous gap between rhetoric of denuclearization and reality", tweeted Richard Haas, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and a top foreign policy adviser to both Presidents Bush.

When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang this weekend, he'll come bearing gifts.

Pyongyang on Friday also pushed back against recent US criticism of the country's human rights record, in a commentary by the state-run Uriminzokkiri outlet referring to it as "provocative" and a potential "obstacle" to further negotiations.

Yonhap reported Pompeo and his delegation will be given top treatment and are staying at 100 Flowers Garden, an elite guesthouse where former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has stayed, as has former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Located a short drive from the massive mausoleum where North Korea's former leader Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il lie in state, the guesthouse is part of a complex that includes lovely grounds with gardens and a lake.

According to a diplomatic source who spoke with Chosunilbo, the "Rocket Man" CD stems from a conversation Trump and Kim had during their denuclearization summit last month.

Its results will be a major test of Pyongyang's commitment to the Singapore summit accord amid lingering skepticism.

"Under the Obama administration they were launching missiles, they were testing", Mr. Trump said.

The sub under construction at Sinpo may be a successor to that Gorae-class boat, advancing a program that U.S. officials consider a threat because it could allow North Korea to achieve greater surprise for a nuclear strike.

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