US ‘ready to resume talks’ with North Korea
Mike Pompeo invites Pyongyang foreign minister to a meeting in New York next week
The US has revealed its willingness to resume talks with North Korea, following a meeting between Kim Jong Un and South Korean president Moon Jae-in at which Kim pledged to dismantle key parts of his nuclear weapons programme.
Following Kim and Moon’s meeting this week in Pyongyang, North Korea said it would close down key missile facilities and “permanently dismantle” facilities central to fuel production for nuclear warheads, provided the US took “unspecified actions”, Reuters says.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced he had invited North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong-ho to New York next week, in a bid to re-start talks aimed at achieving denuclearisation by 2021.
“This will mark the beginning of negotiations to transform US-DPRK relations through the process of rapid denuclearisation of North Korea,” Pompeo said in a statement.
Pompeo has also asked other North Korean officials to meet the new US special envoy, Stephen Biegun, in Vienna on an unspecified date.
The New York Times says that despite the offer put forward by North Korea falling “far short of what American officials have demanded”, Donald Trump nonetheless congratulated Kim and Moon over the agreement signed after their meeting on Wednesday.
However, the Times notes that the agreement between North and South Korea “seemed aimed more at reducing tensions along their shared border than moving quickly toward denuclearisation”.
The deal also sidesteps US demands for North Korea to surrender all of its nuclear capabilities before negotiations begin, instead allowing Pyongyang to work with South Korea on a step-by-step process of dismantling the weapons programme.