Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Mike Pompeo to meet with North Korean counterpart to discuss denuclearisation

Pompeo dismisses N. Korean nuke threats as ‘stray voltage’ ahead of meeting with Kim’s No. 2 Mike Pompeo and Kim Yong-chol during a previous meeting in Pyongyang in July
Kenny Thornton | 07 November, 2018, 18:28

Pyongyang said Friday it would "seriously" consider resuming its nuclear testing if US economic sanctions against North Korea are not lifted, but Pompeo, in an interview on Fox News Sunday, dismissed the threat.

Pompeo's announcement follows a North Korean foreign ministry statement that the North will "seriously" consider reviving its nuclear weapons program unless United States sanctions are lifted.

Visitors from South Korea toast North Korean officials last Saturday at the Mount Kumgang resort in North Korea's Kangwon Province during a two-day event celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation, a Seoul-based pro-unification civic group.

Negotiations over the North's nuclear program have largely stalled, with Pyongyang demanding sanctions relief after halting weapons tests and Washington repeatedly saying the restrictions would remain in place until North Korea is nuclear free.

Pompeo, interviewed on broadcaster CBS's "Face the Nation," said on Sunday he would be in New York City at the end of this week to meet his North Korean counterpart, Kim Yong Chol.

This year, the two sides have suspended major military exercises, including the Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises over the summer and the Vigilant Ace air drill slated for December.

Trump agenda at stake as voters decide control of U.S. Congress
Dean Heller, the only Republican seeking re-election in a state Democrat Hillary Clinton won in the 2016 presidential race. Democrat Bill Nelson, 76, was first elected to the Senate in 2000 and was easily reelected in 2006 and 2012.

The North Korean foreign ministry, in its latest statement, said, "The improvement of relations and sanctions are incompatible". The biggest combat-readiness war game ever staged in and around Japan has gone ahead, however, with nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan joining Japanese destroyers and a Canadian warship in the ocean off Japan, another key player in the effort to pressure North Korea.

The two have sparred over the exact terms of the deal, with Washington pushing to maintain sanctions against the North until its "final, fully verified denuclearisation" and Pyongyang condemning United States demands as "gangster-like".

"Since I myself have been to the Cheonji crater lake [in Mount Paektu], I had told Chairman Kim I would take him to Mount Halla, but since there is no helipad on Mount Halla I am anxious", the South Korean president said.

American officials have remained skeptical of Kim's commitment to give up the nuclear arsenal he has already amassed, however, and Washington says it won't support easing global sanctions until more verified progress is made.

The move coincides with a stiffening of North Korea's sanctions-related rhetoric in recent days.

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