Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will make another trip to North Korea this week as the Trump administration continues talks to get Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
The State Department said Pompeo would depart Thursday on his third trip to North Korea before visiting Japan, Vietnam, the United Arab Emirates and Belgium, where he will accompany President Donald Trump at the NATO summit.
The United States has a plan that would lead to the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs in a year, Trump’s national security adviser said, though US intelligence reported signs that Pyongyang doesn’t intend to fully give up its arsenal. John Bolton said it would be to the North’s advantage to cooperate to see sanctions lifted quickly and aid from South Korea and Japan start to flow.
The State Department said the US ambassador to the Philippines, Sung Kim, who led policy negotiations with North Korea before the summit, traveled to the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas on Sunday to resume talks on next steps in implementing the joint declaration Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed in Singapore.
In that summit declaration, the North committed “to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” The statement did not define how that would be achieved or say when the process would begin or how long it might take.
“Our goal remains the final, fully verified denuclearization of the DPRK, as agreed to by Chairman Kim in Singapore,” the department said Monday. DPRK stands for the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Bolton’s remarks Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” presented an ambitious timeline for North Korea to fulfill that commitment. Pompeo told reporters three weeks ago that the US wants North Korea to take “major” nuclear disarmament steps within the next two years - before the end of Trump’s first term in January 2021.