The United States appears to have shelved an “all or nothing” approach to North Korean denuclearization as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo prepares to head back to North Korea this week hoping to agree a roadmap for its nuclear disarmament.
Pompeo will spend a day and a half in North Korea on Friday and Saturday on what will be his third trip to the country this year, and his first since an unprecedented summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12.
It will be Pompeo’s first overnight stop in the country, with which the United States had remained technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice not a peace treaty.
At the Singapore summit, Kim made a broad commitment to “work toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” but has made no mention of how or when Pyongyang might give up a nuclear weapons program that threatens the United States and its allies.
U.S. officials have since been trying to flesh out an agreement that critics say is short on substance and map a route to a deal that might live up to Trump’s enthusiastic portrayal of the summit outcome.
The U.S. administration has previously demanded that North Korea agree to abandon its entire nuclear program before it could expect any relief from tough international sanctions. Ahead of the Singapore summit, Pompeo said Trump would reject anything short of “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.”
But following talks on Sunday between U.S. envoy Sung Kim and North Korean counterparts to set up Pompeo’s latest Pyongyang visit, this “CVID” mantra appears suddenly to have disappeared from the U.S. State Department lexicon.
It says pressure will remain until North Korea denuclearizes, but in statements this week, has redefined the U.S. goal as “the final, fully verified denuclearization of (North Korea) as agreed to by Chairman Kim.”Reuters