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Kim Jong Un wants immediate meeting with Pompeo and second summit with Trump quickly, South Korea says

Then CIA Director Mike Pompeo and North Korean dictator Kim Jong un shake hands in North Korea (White House)
September 20, 2018

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un wants to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo very soon, and have a second summit with President Trump, in order to accelerate the denuclearization process of the Korean Peninsula, South Korea said early Thursday.

“Chairman Kim Jong Un said he wants Secretary Pompeo’s North Korea visit and a second summit with President Trump to happen at the earliest convenience in order to speed up the denuclearization process,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in Seoul Thursday after returning from a 3-day summit with Kim, the Washington Post reported.

Pompeo had said Wednesday that the goal is for North Korea to denuclearize by 2012, and that he has invited North Korea’s foreign minister to meet in New York next week during United Nations General Assembly week, Reuters reported yesterday.

This was the third inter-Korean summit in four months, and it came during a time of stalled denuclearization talks between the United States and North Korea.

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Moon’s statement Thursday continues to provide signs of progress and hope that North Korea is taking denuclearization seriously for the first time since Trump and Kim met in Singapore this past June.

On Wednesday, Kim and Moon in North Korea signed a summit agreement saying North Korea will renew its process of denuclearization, to include shutting down one of the country’s major nuclear facilities and removing all nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula.

“The North has agreed to permanently shut down its Dongchang-ri missile engine testing facility and missile launch pad under the participation of experts from related countries,” and North Korea also agreed to permanently shut down the Yongbyon nuclear facility, “depending on the United States’ corresponding measures,” Moon said during a press conference in Pyongyang, South Korea’s Yonhap News reported Wednesday.

“The South and the North discussed denuclearization steps for the first time,” Moon added.

“The September declaration will open a higher level for the improvement in relations (between the South and the North) … and bring closer the era of peace and prosperity,” Kim said, Yonhap reported.

According to the joint agreement the two leaders signed, “The North expressed its willingness to continue taking additional steps, such as the permanent shutdown of the Yongbyon nuclear facility, should the United States take corresponding measures under the spirit of the June 12 North Korea-U.S. joint statement.”

Moon is expected to visit the United States later this month, and the White House has said that there is a second U.S.-North Korea summit between Trump and Kim in the works.

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Following reports Wednesday of North Korea’s renewed pledge to denuclearize, President Trump took to Twitter and said the developments were “very exciting,” but he also expressed caution.

“Kim Jong Un has agreed to allow Nuclear inspections, subject to final negotiations, and to permanently dismantle a test site and launch pad in the presence of international experts. In the meantime there will be no Rocket or Nuclear testing. Hero remains to continue being […] returned home to the United States. Also, North and South Korea will file a joint bid to host the 2032 Olympics. Very exciting,” he wrote.

There has been great tension surround North Korea’s denuclearization, especially in light of stalled progress with the United States and conflicting past reports about North Korea’s nuclear activity.

A United Nations nuclear watchdog group in August said North Korea hasn’t stopped the heart of its nuclear activities. In the International Atomic Energy Agency’s recent report, it was revealed that they have not been granted direct access to North Korean nuclear sites for verifications of denuclearization progress, and the group has also observed nuclear activities using satellite imagery, which it called a “grave concern.”

The report mentioned active nuclear activities at the Yongbyon nuclear power plant, as well as activities in a building housing the centrifuge enrichment facility.

President Trump also canceled one of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s planned trips to North Korea shortly after that report. In a series of tweets in late August, Trump said he asked Pompeo to cancel his upcoming trip, citing insufficient progress in denuclearization.

Trump later sent a series of tweets giving an update on North Korea, saying that he has a “good, warm” relationship with Kim.