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Monday 20 May 2019

Mike Pompeo arrives in Pyongyang to discuss US-North Korea agreement

The Secretary of State said he expects North Korea to ‘fill in details’ of the denuclearisation pledge made by Kim Jong Un to Donald Trump.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

By Andrew Harnik, Associated Press

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has arrived in Pyongyang, saying he expects North Korea to be ready to “fill in some details” of the commitments on denuclearisation made by Kim Jong Un at his summit with President Donald Trump last month.

Mr Pompeo was met at Pyongyang airport by Kim Yong Chol, a senior ruling party official and former intelligence chief, and Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho to begin his third visit since April and first since the June 12 summit.

His mission is to translate the upbeat rhetoric following the first meeting between leaders of the US and North Korea into concrete action that will eliminate the threat posed by Kim’s nuclear arsenal.

“Our leaders made commitments at the Singapore summit on the complete denuclearisation of North Korea and outlined what a transformed US-DPRK relationship could look like,” he said, according to comments relayed to reporters on his plane by spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

DPRK is the abbreviation of the authoritarian nation’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“Since the summit, the consultations have continued. On this trip I’m seeking to fill in some details on these commitments and continue the momentum towards implementation of what the two leaders promised each other and the world. I expect that the DPRK is ready to do the same,” Mr Pompeo said.

Over the past 25 years, North Korea has frustrated or outfoxed US administrations that have attempted to stop and reverse its weapons development through diplomacy and sanctions.

Since the summit, doubts over the North’s intentions have grown again, amid reports that it is continuing to expand facilities related to its nuclear and missile programmes and that US intelligence is sceptical about its intentions to give up its weapons.

Mr Trump himself has remained upbeat. Asked on Thursday if North Korea was hiding nuclear facilities, the president said: “We’ll see. All I can tell you is this: You haven’t had one missile launch and you haven’t had one rocket launch or you haven’t had any nuclear tests.”

Speaking on board Air Force One on a trip to Montana, Mr Trump said he believed he had forged a personal connection with the young autocrat he once pilloried as “Little Rocket Man”.

“I had a very good feeling about him. I shook his hand, I felt we got along very well,” Mr Trump told reporters. “I think we understand each other. I really believe that he sees a different future for North Korea … I hope that’s true.

“If it’s not true, then we go back to the other way, but I don’t think that’s going to be necessary.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (left), accompanied by Andrew Kim, the head of the CIA’s Korea Mission Centre (far right) arrive at Yokota Air Force Base in Japan to board their flight to Pyongyang, North Korea (Andrew Harnik/AP)

It will be Mr Pompeo’s mission to put that proposition to the test and help lay to rest doubts over whether the president, who has already ordered a suspension of large-scale US military drills with South Korea, is over-eager to make his engagement with Mr Kim appear a success.

Press Association

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