U.S. con­tra­dicts N. Korea on sanc­tions


Sec­re­tary of State says tough mea­sures will re­main in place un­til there’s ‘com­plete de­nu­cle­ariza­tion’

Tough sanc­tions will re­main on North Korea un­til its com­plete de­nu­cle­ariza­tion, the U.S. Sec­re­tary of State said on Thursday, ap­par­ently con­tra­dict­ing Py­ongyang’s view that the process agreed at this week’s sum­mit would be phased and re­cip­ro­cal.

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is­sued a joint state­ment af­ter their meet­ing in Sin­ga­pore this week that reaf­firmed the North’s com­mit­ment to “work to­ward com­plete de­nu­cle­ariza­tion of the Korean penin­sula,” while Mr. Trump “com­mit­ted to pro­vide se­cu­rity guar­an­tees.”

Mr. Trump later told a news con­fer­ence he would end joint U.S.-South Korean mil­i­tary ex­er­cises.

“Pres­i­dent Trump has been in­cred­i­bly clear about the se­quenc­ing of de­nu­cle­ariza­tion and re­lief from the sanc­tions,” Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo told re­porters af­ter meet­ing South Korea’s Pres­i­dent and Ja­pan’s For­eign Min­is­ter in Seoul. “We are go­ing to get com­plete de­nu­cle­ariza­tion; only then will there be re­lief from the sanc­tions,” he said.

North Korean state me­dia re­ported on Wednesday that Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump had rec­og­nized the prin­ci­ple of “step-bystep and si­mul­ta­ne­ous ac­tion” to achieve peace and de­nu­cle­ariza­tion on the Korean Penin­sula.

The sum­mit state­ment pro­vided no de­tails on when North Korea would give up its nu­clear weapons pro­gram or how the dis­man­tling might be ver­i­fied.

Skep­tics of how much the meet­ing achieved pointed to the North Korean lead­er­ship’s longheld view that nu­clear weapons are a bul­wark against what it fears are U.S. plans to over­throw it and unite the Korean Penin­sula.

How­ever, South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in said the world, through the sum­mit, had es­caped the threat of war, echo­ing Mr. Trump’s up­beat as­sess­ment of his meet­ing with Mr. Kim.

“What’s most im­por­tant was that the peo­ple of the world in­clud­ing those in the United States, Ja­pan and Kore­ans, have all been able to es­cape the threat of war, nu­clear weapons and mis­siles,” Mr. Moon told Mr. Pom­peo.

Mr. Pom­peo in­sisted North Korea was com­mit­ted to giv­ing up its nu­clear ar­se­nal, but said it would “be a process, not an easy one.”

Mr. Kim un­der­stood get­ting rid of his nu­clear ar­se­nal needed to be done quickly and there would only be re­lief from strin­gent UN sanc­tions on North Korea af­ter its “com­plete de­nu­cle­ariza­tion,” Mr. Pom­peo said.

Mr. Moon later said South Korea would be flex­i­ble when it comes to mil­i­tary pres­sure on North Korea if it is sin­cere about de­nu­cle­ariza­tion.

Also on Thursday, North and South Korea held their first mil­i­tary talks in more than a decade. The talks fol­lowed on from an in­ter-Korean sum­mit in April at which Mr. Moon and Mr. Kim agreed to defuse ten­sion and cease “hos­tile acts.”

Speak­ing later in the day in Beijing, Mr. Pom­peo said China, Ja­pan and South Korea all ac­knowl­edged a cor­ner had been turned on the Korean Penin­sula is­sue, but that all three had also ac­knowl­edged sanc­tions re­main in place un­til de­nu­cle­ariza­tion is com­plete.

“China has reaf­firmed its com­mit­ment to hon­our­ing the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions. Those have mech­a­nisms for re­lief con­tained in them, and we agreed that at the ap­pro­pri­ate time that those would be con­sid­ered,” Mr. Pom­peo said, stand­ing next to the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment’s top diplo­mat, State Coun­cil­lor Wang Yi.

“But we have made very clear that the sanc­tions and the eco­nomic re­lief that North Korea will re­ceive will only hap­pen af­ter the full de­nu­cle­ariza­tion, the com­plete de­nu­cle­ariza­tion of North Korea.”


A North Korean of­fi­cer es­corts South Korean Ma­jor-Gen­eral Kim Do-gyun af­ter cross­ing the mil­i­tary de­mar­ca­tion line in Pan­munjom, North Korea, Thursday.


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