Published: Thu, October 04, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

USA secretary of state heads to North Korea for nuclear talks

USA secretary of state heads to North Korea for nuclear talks

An end to the Korean War in return for the verified dismantling of its major North Korean nuclear facility: South Korea's foreign minister on Wednesday proposed this tradeoff to unblock stalled negotiations between the United States and North Korea.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Sunday for a new round of talks on denuclearisation, the US State Department said.

"It shows forward progress and momentum that the secretary is making his fourth trip back in less than a year", a State Department spokeswoman said.

"Obviously these conversations are going in the right direction, and we feel confident enough to hop on a plane to head there", Nauert said.

"I don't know when the summit will take place".

This comes after North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong-ho said last weekend, . there was "no way" the regime would disarm first without seeing trust-building measures from the U.S.

After the trip to Pyongyang, Pompeo will head later Sunday to Seoul, where he will meet President Moon Jae-in, a dove who has helped spearhead the reconciliation efforts with North Korea.

Pompeo had previously said last month's inter-Korean summit marked a shift in talks between the U.S. and North Korea "through the process of rapid denuclearisation of North Korea, to be completed by January 2021, as committed by Chairman Kim, and to construct a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula".

On the agenda is likely the planning of a second summit between Kim and President Trump.

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Analysts speculated the US and North Korea may already have reached a consensus to some extent over denuclearization methods and a declaration ending the war.

Asked about sanctions, Nauert told reporters, "Our policy has not changed".

"There is nothing the USA could get from sanctions and it is no [one] other than them who will be put at disadvantage", the Rodong Sinmun, the official mouthpiece of the ruling Workers' Party, said in an editorial.

Nauert said the meetings in Japan, South Korea and China were meant to brief counterparts on the talks in Pyongyang.

"In return, the USA may ease economic sanctions on North Korea. I think the two sides adjusted their differences on what initial steps North Korea and the USA will each take", said Koh Yu-hwan, a Dongguk University professor.

Pompeo's last trip to North Korea, in July, did not go well.

The meeting between Pompeo and Kim may also chart a possible second meeting between the two leaders.

North Korea says it first wants relief from punishing global sanctions.

Pompeo is heading back to North Korea for another round of talks aimed at getting Kim Jong Un to give up nuclear weapons.

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