Pompeo talks de-nuclearization specifics with North Koreans

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in North Korea today, trying to get some concrete commitments from North Korean leaders on when and how they intend to fulfill leader Kim Jong Un's pledge to get rid of the country's nuclear arsenal.
By Rick Docksai | Nov 24, 2018
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in North Korea again Friday, trying to "fill in" details of a de-nuclearization plan with North Korean counterparts. Pompeo also sought a firm commitment on a recent North Korean offer to return the remains of U.S. troops who died in the Korean War.

He spoke for three hours with Kim Yong Chol, who was key in arranging last month's summit between President Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un. Trump and Kim pledged a mutual commitment to de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, but neither one said specifically when or how the North would dismantle its nuclear weapons program. Trump administration officials said after the summit that they were leaving it up to later meetings to hammer out these specifics.

Pompeo will attend to some of these details on this trip, according to intelligence officials. They said that he will try to at least obtain a list of existing nuclear sites and an arms inventory that U.S. inspectors can check against existing intelligence reports, intelligence officials told Reuters.

"If they're serious, then we can get down to the business of defining the terms of final denuclearization," said one official.

The officials said that their North Korean counterparts have not shown any serious commitment to de-nuclearizing just yet. They are also concerned about the scarcity of reliable data on North Korea's nuclear arsenal, including the number of warheads and uranium facilities. U.S. inspectors will have great difficulty verifying that any list Pompeo receives from North Korea will be truthful and complete, they said.

 

Pompeo will additionally discuss retrieving the remains of U.S. soldiers missing from the Korean War. U.S. officials have information gaps on this subject, too, said one U.S. military official, who said that it is unknown how many U.S. troops' remains the North has.

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