Pompeo will meet with Kim Yong-chol, a close aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, on Thursday to discuss ways to advance a denuclearization agreement reached by U.S. President Donald Trump and the leader in Singapore in June, the department said in a statement.
“Secretary Pompeo will travel to New York City with Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun to meet with DPRK Vice Chairman of the Central Committee Kim Yong Chol on November 8,” the statement said.
“The Secretary and Vice Chairman Kim will discuss making progress on all four pillars of the Singapore Summit joint statement, including achieving the final, fully verified denuclearization of the DPRK,” it added.
DPRK stands for North Korea’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The two sides are also expected to continue planning for a second summit between Trump and Kim early next year.
Pompeo said in an interview with CBS Sunday that he expects to make “some real progress” when he meets with his counterpart, including on the potential summit, “where we can make substantial steps towards denuclearization.”
But the deal has resulted in few tangible results, other than the U.S. suspension of some military exercises with South Korea, and North Korea’s stated dismantlement of certain nuclear and missile testing sites, which the U.S. says falls short of its expectations.
It will be the second meeting between Pompeo and Kim in New York.
The two met in May after Trump called off the first summit. That meeting, and Kim Yong-chol’s subsequent visit with Trump at the White House, led the U.S. president to put the summit back on for June 12 in Singapore.
Pompeo said earlier that he plans to discuss with his counterpart the North Korean leader’s promise to allow international inspectors into the nuclear testing site in Punggye-ri and the missile engine testing site in Dongchang-ri to verify their dismantlement.
South Korea’s state spy agency was quoted as telling lawmakers last week that North Korea appears to be preparing for a visit by the experts.
Pompeo said Sunday that verification will be key.
“Not only complete denuclearization, but our capacity to verify that that has taken place is also a prerequisite to lifting economic sanctions,” he said on CBS.
North Korea has increasingly protested the U.S.-led sanctions on the regime.
Last week, the North’s foreign ministry threatened to return to Pyongyang’s former policy of “byeongjin,” which calls for simultaneously developing its nuclear program and economy, if the U.S. did not start lifting sanctions.
“I’m not worried about rhetoric,” Pompeo told Fox News Sunday. “We’ve seen this as we go through negotiations. Stray voltage happens to be all around us, and we’re very focused. We know with whom we’re negotiating. We know what their positions are. And President Trump has made his position very clear: no economic relief until we have achieved our ultimate objective.”
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