N. Korea promised boom­iNg fu­ture if it deNu­cle­arises

Mike Pom­peo said he had sub­stan­tive con­ver­sa­tions with Kim in his sec­ond meet­ing with the North Korea leader in less than six weeks.

The Sunday Guardian - - World - REUTERS

North Korea can look for­ward to “a fu­ture brim­ming with peace and pros­per­ity” if it agrees to quickly give up its nu­clear weapons, US Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo pledged on Fri­day ahead of a his­toric sum­mit be­tween US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Kim Jong Un.

“If North Korea takes bold ac­tion to quickly de­nu­cle­arise, the United States is pre­pared to work with North Korea to achieve pros­per­ity on the par with our South Korean friends,” Pom­peo told a news con­fer­ence af­ter talks with his South Korean coun­ter­part in Wash­ing­ton.

“If Chair­man Kim chooses the right path, there is a fu­ture brim­ming with peace and pros­per­ity for the North Korean peo­ple,” he said, adding that the United States had a track record of sup­port for the Korean peo­ple that was “sec­ond to none.”

Pom­peo, who re­turned from Py­ongyang this week with three Amer­i­cans who had been held pris­oner by North Korea, said the re­lease of men had helped set con­di­tions for a suc­cess­ful meet­ing be­tween Trump and Kim in Singapore on 12 June.

How­ever, his com­ments made clear that the two sides re­mained far apart on the key is­sue of what they mean by de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion.

Pom­peo said he had “good, sub­stan­tive” con­ver­sa­tions with Kim in Py­ongyang in what was his sec­ond meet­ing with the North Korea leader in less than six weeks, and be­lieved both sides un­der­stood the ul­ti­mate goal of the sum­mit. “We had good con­ver­sa­tions, sub­stan­tive con­ver­sa­tions. Con­ver­sa­tions that in­volved deep com­plex prob­lems, chal­lenges; the strate­gic de­ci­sion that Chair­man Kim has be­fore him about how it is he wishes to pro­ceed and if he is pre­pared, in ex­change for the as­sur­ances we are ready to pro­vide to him, if he is pre­pared to fully de­nu­cle­arise.”

North Korea’s devel­op­ment of nu­clear weapons and mis­siles ca­pa­ble of reach­ing the United States brought ex­changes of bel­li­cose rhetoric be­tween Trump and Kim last year that raised fears of a new war on the Korean penin­sula. In spite of an eas­ing of ten­sions and a re­turn to di­a­logue in re­cent months, North Korea has given no in­di­ca­tion that it is will­ing to go be­yond state­ments of broad sup­port the for con­cept of de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion and uni­lat­er­ally aban­don a nu­clear weapons pro­gramme its rul­ing fam­ily has seen as cru­cial to its sur­vival.

North Korea’s for­mer spy Chief Kim Yong Chul, direc­tor of the coun­try’s United Front Depart­ment, boasted in a toast to Pom­peo over lunch in Py­ongyang on Wed­nes­day that North Korea had “per­fected” it nu­clear ca­pa­bil­ity. He said its pol­icy was now “to con­cen­trate all ef­forts into eco­nomic progress,” but stressed that this had noth­ing to do with in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions im­posed on the coun­try.

Pom­peo said US aim was clear - “to en­sure that North Korean doesn’t pos­sess the ca­pac­ity to threaten, not only the United States but the world, with nu­clear weapons.” He de­scribed his con­ver­sa­tions with Kim as “warm” and said both had tried “our best to make sure that we were com­mu­ni­cat­ing clearly and had shared un­der­stand­ing about what our mu­tual ob­jec­tives were.”

“We had good con­ver­sa­tions about the his­to­ries of our two na­tions,” he added.” We talked about the fact that Amer­ica has of­ten in his­tory had ad­ver­saries who we are now close part­ners with and our hope that we can achieve the same with re­spect to North Korea.” Pom­peo said the com­plete de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion of the Korean penin­sula would re­quire a ro­bust ver­i­fi­ca­tion,” pro­gramme by the United States and other coun­tries.

South Korean For­eign Min­is­ter Kang Kyung­wha stressed that sanc­tions against Py­ongyang would not be lifted un­til it had taken con­crete steps to de­nu­cle­arise.

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