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Pompeo to meet with North Korean officials to discuss denuclearization

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has dinner with Kim Young Chol. (U.S. State Department)
June 22, 2018

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet with North Korean officials at the “earliest possible date” to discuss denuclearization and put into place what both President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un talked about at this month’s historic summit in Singapore, according to a State Department spokeswoman.

“Secretary Pompeo will be meeting with them [officials] and talking with them at the earliest possible date to try to implement the outcomes of the U.S.-DPRK summit,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said. “We don’t have any meetings or travel to announce at this time.”

After their historic first meeting, Trump and Kim signed a Declaration of Friendship that, among other things, calls for the eventual complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. North Korea also agreed to shut down one of its nuclear weapons testing sites.

Trump also announced last week that North Korea would begin returning the remains of missing U.S. troops from the Korean War.

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The remains of up to 200 U.S. or Allied service members from North Korea who have been missing since the Korean War are expected to return to the United States soon.

In a statement signed by both Trump and Kim during the historic summit in Singapore on June 12, the two countries agreed to the “immediate repatriation” of those fallen service members who are already identified.

Roughly 7,800 Americans remain unaccounted for from the war. The Korean military conflict technically lasted from 1950 to 1953 but was ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.

Of those 7,800 Americans, 5,300 are believed to have been lost in battles in North Korea or prisoner-of-war camps.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said just a few days before the summit that talks about returning the remains of the missing Americans and South Koreans from the war was a top priority of the summit.

Past efforts to recover U.S. remains in North Korea ended abruptly more than a decade ago because of North Korea’s nuclear development and lack of guaranteeing the safety of American recovery teams sent into the country.

Between 1996 and 2005, 30 recovery missions conducted by joint U.S.-North Korea military search teams recovered 229 sets of American remains.

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Earlier this year, the leaders of North and South Korea signed an agreement to officially end the Korean War after 65 years, which will be declared later this year, and to work to denuclearize and establish a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met in the Demilitarized Zone, in Panmunjom, and signed the “Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification on the Korean Peninsula.”