Tuesday 25 September 2018

Mike Pompeo wraps up talks in North Korea without seeing Kim Jong Un

The US diplomat told reporters his conversations with senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol had been ‘productive’.

Mike Pompeo addresses the media before boarding his plane at Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang (Andrew Harnik/AP)
Mike Pompeo addresses the media before boarding his plane at Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang (Andrew Harnik/AP)

By Andrew Harnik and Matthew Lee, Associated Press

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has wrapped up two days of talks with senior North Korean officials without meeting Kim Jong Un.

The US diplomat did claim commitments for new discussions on denuclearisation and the repatriation of the remains of American soldiers killed during the Korean War.

Before leaving Pyongyang, he told reporters his conversations with senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol had been “productive”, conducted “in good faith” and that “a great deal of progress” had been made in some areas.

But he stressed “there’s still more work to be done” in other areas, much of which would be done by working groups the two sides have set up.

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Mike Pompeo says goodbye to Kim Yong Chol (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Mr Pompeo said a Pentagon team would meet North Korean officials on or about July 12 at the border between North and South Korea to discuss the repatriation of remains, and that talks would be held soon on the destruction of North Korea’s missile engine testing facility.

In the days following his historic June 12 summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore, President Donald Trump had announced that the return of the remains and the destruction of the missile facility had been completed or were in progress.

Mr Pompeo said more talks were needed on both.

“We now have a meeting set up for July 12 — it could move by one day or two — where there will be discussions between the folks responsible for the repatriation of remains. (It) will take place at the border and that process will begin to develop over the days that follow,” he said as he boarded a plane for Tokyo.

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Mike Pompeo addresses the media before boarding his plane at Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang (Andrew Harnik/AP)

On the destruction of the missile engine plant, he said: “We talked about what the modalities would look like for the destruction of that facility as well, and some progress there as well, and then we have laid out a path for further negotiation at the working level so the two teams can get together and continue these discussions.”

Earlier, Mr Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol both said they needed clarity on the parameters of an agreement to denuclearise the Korean peninsula that Mr Trump and Kim Jong Un agreed to in Singapore.

The trip was Mr Pompeo’s third to Pyongyang since April and his first since the summit.

Unlike his previous visits, which have been one-day affairs during which he has met Kim Jong Un, Mr Pompeo spent the night at a government guesthouse in Pyongyang and did not see the North Korean leader, although US officials had suggested such a meeting was expected.

Press Association

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