CVID clear be­tween US, NK: Pom­peo

Top diplo­mats gather in Seoul for close co­op­er­a­tion

The Korea Times - - NATIONAL - By Kim Bo-eun bkim@ko­re­atimes.co.kr

U.S. Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo on Thurs­day said the agree­ment reached at the North Korea-U.S. sum­mit this week was clear about North Korea’s com­plete de­nu­cle­ariza­tion in a com­pre­hen­sive sense, de­spite the words ver­i­fi­able and ir­re­versible be­ing omit­ted in the ac­cord.

Pom­peo’s state­ment is in line with U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s re­marks in a press con­fer­ence fol­low­ing the sum­mit that the term “com­plete” in the agree­ment cov­ers the mean­ing of ver­i­fi­able and ir­re­versible.

“The agree­ment made very clear that this would be com­plete de­nu­cle­ariza­tion,” Pom­peo told re­porters in Seoul, at a joint press con­fer­ence with his South Korean and Ja­panese coun­ter­parts, Kang Kyung-wha and Taro Kono.

The U.S. Sec­re­tary of State ar­rived in Seoul a day ear­lier for a bi­lat­eral meet­ing with Kang and tri­lat­eral meet­ing with Kang and Kono, to share de­tails of the Trump-Kim sum­mit and to dis­cuss the means to co­op­er­ate in the process of North Korea’s de­nu­cle­ariza­tion and es­tab­lish­ing peace on the Korean Penin­sula.

Pom­peo also said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un un­der­stands that the de­nu­cle­ariza­tion process should be car­ried out swiftly, al­though a time­line was not in­cluded in the agree­ment.

“We be­lieve that Chair­man Kim Jong-un un­der­stands the ur­gency of the tim­ing of com­plet­ing this de­nu­cle­ariza­tion,” he said.

He added ver­i­fi­ca­tion of the process is cen­tral to re­shap­ing the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the U.S. and North Korea. At the sum­mit, the two states agreed to es­tab­lish “new rela- tions.”

Pom­peo also clar­i­fied that the se­quenc­ing of the de­nu­cle­ariza­tion model would be de­nu­cle­ariza­tion first and then sanc­tions re­lief.

“Sanc­tions re­lief can­not take place un­til it is demon­strated that North Korea has been com­pletely de­nu­cle­arized,” he said.

The U.S. sec­re­tary of state stressed co­op­er­a­tion be­tween al­lies in the process.

“The pres­i­dent said this would be a process and not an easy one; stay­ing closely aligned with al­lies — South Korea and Ja­pan — will be crit­i­cal for the suc­cess of that out­come,” Pom­peo said.

Mean­while, con­tro­versy has brewed over Trump’s re­marks that joint mil­i­tary drills be­tween the U.S. and South Korea would be halted dur­ing the process of di­a­logue with North Korea, be­cause it ap­pears that the U.S. did not in­form South Korea about the plan.

Kang did not state whether South Korea had been in­formed in ad­vance, but said “The is­sue of joint mil­i­tary drills be­tween South Korea and the U.S. is an is­sue of the South Korea-U.S. al­liance.”

Re­gard­ing the is­sue, Kono said “We un­der­stand that the U.S. main­tains its com­mit­ment to de­fend al­lies.” He added Ja­pan is seek­ing to nor­mal­ize re­la­tions with North Korea, through re­solv­ing con­cerns such as nu­clear, mis­sile and ab­ductee is­sues, as well as through the set­tle­ment of an un­for­tu­nate past.

How­ever, Kono said no high-level meet­ings are planned be­tween Ja­pan and North Korea as of now. Ja­pan has re­port­edly been seek­ing a sum­mit be­tween Kim and Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Abe.

Pom­peo ear­lier in the day met with Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in at Cheong Wa Dae.

He re­quested that Moon play a cen­tral role in North Korea’s de­nu­cle­ariza­tion process through close com­mu­ni­ca­tion with Kim based on their re­la­tions, Cheong Wa Dae said in a state­ment.

AP-Yon­hap

For­eign Min­is­ter Kang Kyung-wha, cen­ter, U.S. Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo, right, and Ja­panese For­eign Min­is­ter Taro Kono at­tend a joint meet­ing in Seoul, Thurs­day.

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