Pompeo to visit North Korea again

Secretary of State to visit North Korea next week but not meet Kim Jong Un.

Elad Benari ,

Mike Pompeo and Kim Jong Un
Mike Pompeo and Kim Jong Un

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit North Korea again next week to try to persuade it to abandon its nuclear weapons, but is not scheduled to meet its leader, Kim Jong Un, Reuters reported.

Speaking to reporters, Pompeo said he will take a new U.S. special representative, Stephen Biegun, with him on the visit in an attempt to break the deadlock.

Pompeo on Thursday named the Ford Motor Co executive, a veteran Republican foreign policy hand, as the U.S. special envoy to North Korea.

“Steve will direct U.S. policy toward North Korea and lead our efforts to achieve President Trump’s goal of the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea as agreed to by Kim Jong Un,” Pompeo said.

“He and I will be traveling to North Korea next week to make further diplomatic progress toward our objective,” he added.

It will be Pompeo’s fourth trip this year aimed at getting North Korea to scrap a nuclear weapons program and his second since an unprecedented June summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Pompeo had no plans to meet with Kim in Pyongyang.

“We don’t have that scheduled; we have no expectations of meeting with Chairman Kim. That is not a part of this trip,” she told a regular news briefing, according to Reuters.

During the June summit, Trump and Kim signed an agreement which includes a commitment to achieve total denuclearization of Korea, with promises to pursue “vigorous negotiations” to that end.

Subsequent reports suggested that despite its commitment to denuclearize, North Korea has continued to expand infrastructure at nuclear and missile sites.

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton said two weeks ago that North Korea had not yet taken significant steps to get rid of its nuclear weapons project.

Trump later insisted that North Korea is making progress in dismantling its nuclear program.

Commercial satellite imagery released on Wednesday found that North Korea has halted its dismantling of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station, its only operational space launch facility.

In an interview with Reuters on Monday, Trump defended his efforts to convince Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons, saying he believed North Korea had taken specific steps toward denuclearization. He also said he would “most likely” meet again with Kim.