CVID clear between US, NK: Pompeo
Top diplomats gather in Seoul for close cooperation
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.
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.