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9:24, 07 July 2018

Pompeo and North Korean Official Meet for 2nd Day of Talks

Pompeo and North Korean Official Meet for 2nd Day of Talks

Pompeo and North Korean Official Meet for 2nd Day of Talks

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with the North Korean official Kim Yong-chol on Saturday in Pyongyang, the North&rsquos capital. Mr. Pompeo told Mr. Kim that &ldquobuilding a partnership amongst our two countries is essential for a brighter North Korea.&rdquoCreditPool photo by Andrew Harnik

By Gardiner Harris

PYONGYANG, North Korea &mdash Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his North Korean counterpart started their meetings on Saturday with the customary flowery greetings. But just prior to reporters have been pushed out of the room, the exchange acquired an edge.

&ldquoThere are issues that I have to clarify,&rdquo said Kim Yong-chol, a senior North Korean official who has been negotiating with Americans for decades.

&ldquoThere are items that I have to clarify as well,&rdquo Mr. Pompeo swiftly responded.

As the two men started their second day of talks in the North Korean capital, there was, indeed, a lot to be clarified. Mr. Pompeo was in Pyongyang to get the North Koreans to match their vague commitment to denuclearization &mdash signed by Kim Jong-un, the North&rsquos leader, in his meeting final month with President Trump &mdash with distinct promises.

Privately, Mr. Pompeo has stated that he doubts Mr. Kim will ever give up his nuclear weapons. But he hopes that these comply with-up talks will at least get the North Koreans to reveal their correct intentions pretty speedily, according to a single senior administration official.

Heather Nauert, the State Department spokeswoman, stated later Saturday that Mr. Pompeo had &ldquobeen very firm&rdquo in insisting on North Korea&rsquos complete denuclearization, as well as on the repatriation of the remains of American service members killed in the Korean War &mdash another commitment created by Mr. Kim last month.

Mr. Pompeo began his day Saturday by leaving the elaborate guesthouse where he was staying to make a safe phone call to President Trump. Also on the call were John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump&rsquos national security adviser, and John Kelly, the White Home chief of staff. State Department officials have assumed that listening devices are planted all through the guesthouse.

A little group of reporters traveling with Mr. Pompeo have been allowed into the Pyongyang meetings to record their initial moments, as is routine for such diplomatic encounters. But the North Koreans, unaccustomed to the presence of independent journalists, have allowed the reporters to keep numerous minutes longer than usual.

On Saturday morning, these extra moments led to the recording of an unusually lengthy exchange in between Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Kim.

&ldquoThis isn&rsquot your initial check out to our country, however this is your very first evening in our country,&rdquo Mr. Kim began. &ldquoDid you sleep well last evening?&rdquo

&ldquoI did, I did, thank you for the accommodation,&rdquo Mr. Pompeo answered. The American delegation is staying at the Paekhwawon guesthouse, an elaborate facility just outdoors Pyongyang, beside a small lake with a tiny island in the center. The place has the feel of a minor Middle Eastern palace, with higher ceilings, gold carpets and stiff mattresses. Soldiers with rifles and fixed bayonets patrolled the perimeter of the guesthouse overnight (quickly disappearing into the shrubbery when a reporter jogged by).

&ldquoThe area around this Paekhwawon guesthouse is complete of trees and plants, and the air is genuinely fresh, so it is a very good spot for people over 50,&rdquo Mr. Kim mentioned.

&ldquoThat would consist of me,&rdquo Mr. Pompeo replied with a chuckle.

&ldquoBut we did have very severe discussion on really crucial matters yesterday,&rdquo Mr. Kim mentioned. &ldquoSo thinking about those discussions, you may possibly have not slept well last night.&rdquo

&ldquoDirector Kim, I slept just fine,&rdquo Mr. Pompeo responded, as an edge crept into his voice. &ldquoWe did have a great set of conversations yesterday. I appreciate that, and I look forward to our continued conversations today as properly.&rdquo

Mr. Pompeo then glanced toward his employees, maybe expecting the reporters to be ushered out. But Mr. Kim continued:

&ldquoSince this is the very first high-level discussion between our two countries considering that the Singapore summit, and therefore the political field of the United States and the entire world is playing close interest to our meeting,&rdquo he stated. &ldquoWe have not however announced the outcomes of our meeting, but the outside seems to feel this is going effectively.

&ldquoAnd I have heard the news that Secretary Pompeo is quite pleased with the meeting,&rdquo he said. &ldquoWe are just performing our very best we can to make your stay comfy.&rdquo

&ldquoWe contemplate this extremely crucial, too, because it is the first senior-level face-to-face meeting given that the summit among our two leaders,&rdquo Mr. Pompeo said. He added that &ldquobuilding a partnership amongst our two nations is essential for a brighter North Korea and the accomplishment that our two presidents demand of us.&rdquo

That was a slip, according to Sung-Yoon Lee, a Korea analyst at the Fletcher College of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He noted that Kim Il-sung, North Korea&rsquos founding leader, who died in 1994, is regarded the North&rsquos &ldquoeternal president,&rdquo and that Kim Jong-un, his grandson, would never ever dare to assume the title.

Mr. Lee was also crucial of the State Division&rsquos announcement Saturday that it had produced a tiny functioning group to keep hammering out the details of a denuclearization agreement. Mr. Lee said that such groups have been a feature of past nuclear agreements with the North, which served only to postpone their eventual failure.

&ldquoForming small functioning groups is yet another stalling, ensnaring tactic to preserve the momentum and create the illusion of cooperation,&rdquo Mr. Lee said.

A lot of men and women who have negotiated with North Korea in the previous, or who follow the nation closely, think what Mr. Pompeo has said privately: that the North has no intention of surrendering its nuclear and ballistic missile applications, and that the negotiations will inevitably fail. Ms. Nauert, the State Division spokeswoman, denied Saturday that Mr. Pompeo saw the procedure as doomed.

&ldquoThere&rsquos a lot of challenging work that&rsquos left to be accomplished,&rdquo she mentioned. &ldquoWe never ever believed this would be effortless, and that&rsquos why consultations continue.&rdquo

For months, Mr. Pompeo stated he would insist on attaining absolutely nothing much less than the North&rsquos &ldquocomplete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization&rdquo &mdash or C.V.I.D., as it has grow to be known. But in recent days, Mr. Pompeo and Ms. Nauert have stopped utilizing the phrase, top to speculation that the United States has begun to dial back its demands.

Ms. Nauert said Saturday that there has been no softening of the American position, although she would not clarify the change in language.

Negotiations were anticipated to end Saturday afternoon, with Mr. Pompeo and his delegation scheduled to fly on to Tokyo.

The North Korean officials appear to be avid consumers of American news coverage. On Friday, as reporters had been taken in a van from the airport to the guesthouse, a media handler noted that there was no one from CNN or NBC &mdash two frequent targets of President Trump&rsquos criticism &mdash in the group.

&ldquoIn this van, no fake news,&rdquo joked the official, Kim Kwang-hak. Asked what he expected to come out of the meetings, he mentioned: &ldquoWe&rsquoll see, like your president says.&rdquo

Published at Sat, 07 Jul 2018 06:42:47 +0000

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