Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will make his third visit to North Korea next week to continue ongoing negotiations over the regime’s plans to denuclearize, according to a report from the Financial Times on Thursday.
According to four officials who spoke with the Times, Pompeo canceled a meeting with the Indian foreign minister to travel to Pyongyang to hold talks with senior North Korean officials following President Donald Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong-un in Singapore this month.
“Mr. Pompeo had to cancel the meeting because of important travel related to North Korea,” a U.S. official said, while another said an official announcement would be made the in the coming days.
The trip would be Pompeo’s third to North Korea, where he has sought to lay the groundwork for diplomatic relations that will lead to the country giving up its nuclear weapons. Pompeo’s first visit to Pyongyang was in April, before making a follow-up visit in May.
On his second visit, Pompeo confirmed that the U.S “will not relieve economic sanctions on the regime until such time as we achieved our objectives.”
In May, Pompeo also dined with Kim Yong-chol, a U.S. Treasury-sanctioned “Specially Designated Person.” The two, and several other North Korean officials, enjoyed filet mignon, corn puree, and homemade vanilla ice cream. Kim later met with Donald Trump and other administration officials at the White House.
Great to have Secretary Pompeo confirmed. He will do an excellent job helping @POTUS lead our efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. (photos from previously confirmed Easter weekend trip) pic.twitter.com/o4RNDKVmah
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) April 26, 2018
This month, Pompeo outlined what the U.S. will expect from any peace agreement, stating that the “complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korea peninsula is the only outcome that the United States will accept.”
On Sunday, Pompeo said in an interview with CNN that he would not put an exact timetable on any agreement but that negotiations continued to move forward.
“I am not going to put a timeline on it, whether that’s two months, six months, we are committed to moving forward in an expeditious moment to see if we can achieve what both leaders set out to do,” he said, adding that he would “constantly reassess” the U.S’s negotiation position.
Pompeo is also understood to be a key player in Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong-un, having personally prepared Trump for the meeting.
Most analysts believe the meeting was successful. The two leaders agreed to “establish new U.S. – DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the population of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.”
The joint statement also declared that the two countries “will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula” while the North assured that it will “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”