US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plans to meet with his North Korean counterpart next week in a bid to make progress on denuclearization and arrange a second summit between the two countries’ leaders.
During an interview Wednesday on the conservative US radio program “The Laura Ingraham Show,” Pompeo said he would talk with his North Korean counterpart about plans to invite inspectors to the North’s nuclear and missile sites, as well as plans to hold the second US-North Korea summit early next year.
Pompeo said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had committed to allowing US inspectors to visit two “significant” sites when the two met in Pyongyang this month. The secretary did not identify the sites.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to members of the media in the briefing room of the State Department Oct. 23. (AFP)
“We hope to get them there before too long. It’s one of the things I’ll speak with my counterpart next week about,” Pompeo said, without elaborating on the name of his counterpart or where the meeting was to take place.
“And then we do have the intention of President Trump and Chairman Kim getting together before too long, hopefully early in the next year, where we can make a substantial breakthrough in taking down the nuclear threat from North Korea.”
Pompeo’s remarks came after reports that South Korea’s top spy agency had told lawmakers that it had observed preparations for international inspections by North Korea at several of its nuclear and missile test sites.
According to Rep. Kim Min-ki of the ruling Democratic Party, the National Intelligence Service observed North Korea taking steps to prepare for visits from foreign inspectors at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site and the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground.
The lawmaker, however, said no major movements had been seen at the Yongbyon nuclear complex. President Moon Jae-in said in September that the North was willing to dismantle the Yongbyon facilities in return for corresponding measures by the United States.
While North Korea has stopped nuclear and missile tests this year, its decision not to invite international inspectors to the May dismantling of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site has invited skepticism over whether the country is serious about complete denuclearization.
By Yeo Jun-suk (email@example.com