Pompeo has met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un twice already, but this upcoming meeting on Thursday will be the first since Kim had the uncommon pleasure of meeting with US President Donald Trump in Singapore on June 12th.
Trump made his way into the history books by being the first sitting POTUS to meet with a North Korean leader since the war.
At his meeting with Trump, Kim committed to dismantling his nuclear arsenal and to ditch his nuclear program altogether in exchange for certain guarantees.
Trump, presumably as a demonstration of his resolve on the matter, suspended some military exercises with South Korea which are essentially war games practicing the military defeat or destruction of the North Korean regime through combat.
Japan, the UAE, Vietnam, and Belgium are also on Pompeo’s travel agenda.
The Mainichi reports:
WASHINGTON (Kyodo) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will leave for Pyongyang on Thursday for talks on denuclearization with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the White House said Monday.
After his trip to Pyongyang until Saturday, Pompeo will visit Tokyo on Saturday and Sunday to meet with Japanese and South Korean officials and “discuss our shared commitment to the final, fully verified denuclearization” of the North, the State Department said.
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono told reporters on Tuesday in Tokyo he will meet with Pompeo during the secretary of state’s first visit to Japan since assuming the post in April.
Pompeo will also travel to Hanoi on July 8-9, the United Arab Emirates on July 9-10 and Brussels on July 10-12, according to the department.
Pompeo’s trip to Pyongyang marks the first face-to-face contact between the two countries since U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim held the first-ever bilateral summit between the two countries on June 12 in Singapore.
Pompeo and Kim are expected to discuss concrete and credible measures to rid Pyongyang of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to comment on intelligence reports expressing doubts over North Korea’s seriousness about denuclearizing, but said Washington is “continuing to make progress” in talks with Pyongyang.
At the June 12 summit, Kim committed to the “complete” denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula while Trump promised to provide security guarantees to Pyongyang.
But a joint statement signed by the two leaders did not detail how and when North Korea will achieve denuclearization.
The statement said Pompeo and “relevant high-level” North officials will hold follow-up negotiations “at the earliest possible date” to implement the outcomes of the summit.
Pompeo traveled twice to Pyongyang in recent months to pave the way for the summit. In both trips, the chief U.S. diplomat met with the North’s leader.
Tensions between the two countries have eased since the summit, with Trump suspending some joint military exercises with South Korea — which experts call a significant concession by the United States — and North Korea apparently starting work to repatriate some remains of American troops missing in the 1950-1953 Korean War.
After what will be Pompeo’s third trip to Pyongyang, Japanese officials are expected to be briefed by him on the progress of talks with North Korea, including not only steps for denuclearization but the North’s possible reference to its abduction of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s.
Pompeo gets to meet with Kim while Bolton got stuck with meeting with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, which is no doubt not quite that fair of an arrangement. But it seems that Bolton is going to have to live with it and be happy that he is getting to stick his nose into the notorious anti democratic regime that everybody knows is just up to no good, the Russians. Both Japan and the USA want to see the complete and verifiable denuclearization of the North, and both are prepared to grant no concessions until that becomes a reality, whether it’s sanctions or military preparations. The question becomes just what America has and will offer in order to properly incentivize Kim to feel more secure and ditch his nukes. If that much comes about, the question then becomes in what manner which this occur?