Sunday 9 December 2018

Pompeo will press Kim for timeline on North Korean nuclear disarmament

Mike Pompeo will meet Kim. Photo: AP
Mike Pompeo will meet Kim. Photo: AP

Nick Allen

Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, will push North Korea to provide a timeline for denuclearisation on his third trip to Pyongyang.

It comes amid growing scepticism in Washington over Kim Jong-un's commitment to giving up his nuclear arsenal.

Mr Pompeo was due to arrive today for a meeting with Kim, as splits emerged in Donald Trump's administration over how quickly to demand disarmament.

Mr Trump met the North Korean leader in Singapore on June 12, and later said that the threat of nuclear war was over. But US intelligence reports have emerged suggesting ongoing activity at North Korean nuclear sites.

John Bolton, Mr Trump's national security adviser, who has taken a hard line on North Korea, said recently that Mr Pompeo would present Kim with a plan to dismantle his nuclear and missile programmes in just one year.

But Heather Nauert, the State Department spokesman, later contradicted that. She said: "We're not going to provide a timeline for that.

"A lot of work is left to be done, certainly. We go into this eyes wide open."

Pressure was increasing on Mr Pompeo to secure a concrete concession from Kim. If he does not get the guarantees he wants, it seems probable the US would increase its "maximum pressure" sanctions campaign.

John Hannah, a former White House adviser, said: "Pompeo has already been to Pyongyang twice and came away with very little.It should not happen a third time without Kim understanding that there will be consequences."

Bill Richardson, the former US envoy to North Korea, said: "I believe Kim Jong-un is trying to delay denuclearisation and do it at his own pace." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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