Friday 19 October 2018

North Korea not living up to pledge to denuclearise, says Pompeo

The US secretary of state is attending an Asian security forum with North Korea’s foreign minister.

Mike Pompeo (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Mike Pompeo (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

By Matthew Lee, Associated Press

North Korea is far from living up to its pledge to denuclearise and remains in violation of numerous UN Security Council resolutions, according to US secretary of state Mike Pompeo.

Speaking before he attended an Asian security forum with North Korea’s foreign minister, Mr Pompeo told reporters in Singapore there was “still a ways to go” before achieving the goal of ridding the North of its nuclear weapons.

His comments came after the White House announced President Donald Trump had received a new letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and responded quickly with a letter of his own.

The correspondence, following up on their Singapore summit in June, came amid fresh concerns over Pyongyang’s commitment to denuclearisation despite a rosy picture of progress painted by Mr Trump.

Mr Pompeo has taken the lead in negotiations with the North, having travelled to Pyongyang three times since April and accompanied Mr Trump to the summit, and he will be in the same room on Saturday as his North Korean counterpart at the Association of South East Asian Nations annual regional forum.

A separate meeting between the two is possible but not confirmed, according to State Department officials.

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Mike Pompeo, centre, in Singapore with diplomats from Thailand, Vietnam,, Malaysia and Laos (Yong Teck Lim/AP)

“Chairman Kim made a commitment to denuclearise,” Mr Pompeo told reporters accompanying him to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

“The world demanded that (he) do so in the UN Security Council resolutions. To the extent they are behaving in a manner inconsistent with that, they are in violation of one or both the UN Security Council resolutions, we can see we still have a ways to go to achieve the ultimate outcome we’re looking for.”

On Thursday, Mr Trump tweeted his thanks to the North Korean leader “for your nice letter — I look forward to seeing you soon!”

The White House did not provide details on the content of the letter from Mr Kim, received on Wednesday, or of Mr Trump’s reply. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the letters addressed their commitment to work toward North Korea’s “complete denuclearisation”.

Ms Sanders said no second meeting is “locked in” as a follow-up to the Singapore summit in June, but they remain open to discussions.

Mr Trump in his tweet expressed gratitude to Mr Kim “for keeping your word” on the return of the remains of more than 50 American service members killed during the Korean War.

Vice president Mike Pence and US military leaders received the remains in Hawaii during a sombre ceremony on Wednesday.

Press Association

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