US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday he will meet with his North Korean counterpart in New York "at the end of this week" to continue discussions on the denuclearization of the regime.
Pompeo said in two separate interviews that his counterpart will be Kim Yong-chol, a top aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, but stopped short of revealing the exact date of their meeting.
"I'll be in New York City at the end of this week meeting with my counterpart, Kim Yong-chol," the top US diplomat told "Face the Nation" on CBS. "I expect we'll make some real progress, including an effort to make sure that the summit between our two leaders can take place, where we can make substantial steps towards denuclearization."
A second summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un is expected to take place early next year.
At the first summit in Singapore in June, Kim committed to work toward "complete" denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for security guarantees from the US Multiple diplomatic sources told Yonhap earlier the Pompeo-Kim meeting is scheduled for Thursday and Friday, while other reports have suggested Wednesday and Thursday.
"We'll have a good opportunity to continue the denuclearization discussions that were set out just a few months back," Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News. "It seems like a long time ago in news world, but it was just this past June when President Trump and Chairman Kim met and set us on the path that we're on today."
He specifically cited the absence of North Korean nuclear and missile tests this year, as well as the regime's return of the remains of some American soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War.
"We're continuing to negotiate with the North Koreans to achieve what President Trump set out: the full denuclearization verified by the United States of the Korean Peninsula, and then a brighter future for the North Korean people," Pompeo said on Fox News.
But he emphasized that verification will be key.
"Not only complete denuclearization, but our capacity to verify that that has taken place is also a prerequisite to lifting economic sanctions," he said on CBS.
North Korea has increasingly protested the US-led sanctions on the regime. On Friday, the North's foreign ministry threatened to return to the regime's former policy of byeongjin, which calls for simultaneously developing its nuclear program and economy, if the US did not start lifting sanctions.
"I'm not worried about rhetoric," Pompeo told Fox News. "We've seen this as we go through negotiations. Stray voltage happens to be all around us, and we're very focused. We know with whom we're negotiating. We know what their positions are. And President Trump has made his position very clear: no economic relief until we have achieved our ultimate objective." (Yonhap)