Pompeo, DPRK official to meet about possible Kim summit

World Today

FILE – In this July 7, 2018 file photo, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, and Kim Yong Chol, a DPRK senior ruling party official and former intelligence chief, arrive for a lunch at the Park Hwa Guest House in DPRK’s capital Pyongyang. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool, File)

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is to meet DPRK‘s  senior ruling party official and former intelligence chief,Kim Yong Chol on Friday for talks aimed at finalizing a second summit between President Donald Trump and DPRK’s leader Kim Jong Un.

The State Department announced the late-morning meeting, and other administration officials indicated it likely will be followed by Kim Yong Chol’s visit to the White House, where he could meet with Trump. Those officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Trump has spoken several times of having a second summit with Kim early this year and has exchanged multiple letters despite little tangible progress on a vague denuclearization agreement reached at their first meeting. Since then, several private analysts have published reports detailing continuing DPRK’s development of nuclear and missile technology.

At a conference of U.S. diplomats at the State Department on Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence acknowledged the lack of progress. He called the Trump-Kim dialogue “promising” but stressed that “we still await concrete steps by DPRK to dismantle the nuclear weapons that threaten our people and our allies in the region.”

A planned meeting between Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol in New York last November was called off abruptly. U.S. officials said at the time that DPRK had canceled the session.

A White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the two sides were “working to make progress” on the denuclearization goal and that Trump “looks forward to meeting Chairman Kim again at their second summit at a place and time yet to be determined.”

The talks had stalled over DPRK’s refusal to provide a detailed accounting of its nuclear and missile facilities that would be used by inspectors to verify any deal to dismantle them. DPRK has been demanding that the U.S. lift harsh sanctions and provide it with security guarantees before it takes any steps beyond its initial suspension of nuclear and missile tests.

Kim Jong Un expressed frustration in an annual New Year’s address over the lack of progress in negotiations. But on a visit to Beijing last week, he said DPRK would pursue a second summit “to achieve results that will be welcomed by the international community,” according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency.