Published: Mon, October 08, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Chill in the air as Pompeo meets Chinese counterparts in Beijing

Chill in the air as Pompeo meets Chinese counterparts in Beijing

Pompeo, who was briefing Wang following his visit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, said, "The issues that you characterized we have a fundamental disagreement".

Pompeo said "he agreed with Chairman Kim to hold the second US-North Korea summit at the earliest date possible", South Korea's presidential office said in a statement, although no specific time or location has yet been agreed. Xi visited North Korea in 2008, when he was China's vice-president.

Trump met Kim in Singapore in June for the first-ever summit between the two countries, resulting in what critics say was only a vague commitment by Kim towards denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

Such an inspection has been one of the main sticking points in making progress on a denuclearisation pledge secured by US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader at the historic summit in Singapore earlier this year.

"Together with Mike Pompeo, Kim Jong Un appreciated the positively developing situation on the Korean Peninsula", said KCNA. The inspectors will visit a missile engine test facility and the Punggye-ri nuclear testing site as soon as the logistics are worked out, Pompeo said. "Progress made on Singapore Summit Agreements!" But Trump called off the trip a day later, saying North Korea hadn't made sufficient progress toward denuclearization.

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The US is pushing for a "final, fully verified denuclearisation" but North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho told the United Nations general assembly in September there was "no way" his country would disarm first as long as tough US sanctions remained against his country.

After a previous visit to Pyongyang in July, Pompeo had said the two foes made progress on key issues - but within hours of his departure the North condemned "gangster-like" demands from the United States, raising questions over how much the two sides really saw eye to eye.

"I've never been involved in an worldwide discussion where there weren't differences of view, not only between governments but inside of governments", he said.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that Kim is expected to visit Russian Federation soon and that Chinese leader Xi Jinping will also travel to North Korea, but did not give any further details. Mr Pompeo did not meet Mr Kim on that trip.

The upbeat tone is a marked difference from Pompeo's last visit to Pyongyang, which saw North Korea slam the USA for "gangster-like" behaviour in its demands for unilateral disarmament.

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Analysts say Washington may now consider new options as China, Russia and South Korea seek to relax sanctions.

Pompeo has repeatedly refused to discuss details of negotiations, including a USA position on North Korea's demand for a declared end to the Korean War and a proposal from Seoul for such a declaration to be accompanied by a shutdown of the North's main known nuclear facility.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha has given a hint of what a grand bargain between the two countries could look like.

In Tokyo on Saturday, Mr Pompeo promised he would bring up Japan's concerns about North Korea's alleged abductions of Japanese citizens and its nuclear ambitions. USA officials have thus far said the penalties will remain in place until the North's denuclearization is fully verified.

Mr Pompeo said he wanted "a fully coordinated, unified view of how to proceed, which will be what is needed if we are going to be successful in denuclearising North Korea". Last week, Vice President Mike Pence stepped up the US pressure campaign against Beijing, going beyond the trade war by accusing China of both "malign" efforts to undermine President Donald Trump ahead of next month's congressional elections and of reckless military action in the South China Sea.

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