Kim Jong Un wants Pompeo to pay another visit, more Trump talks

Image: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives at Sunan International Airpor
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, center, arrives in Pyongyang on July 6. Copyright Andrew Harnik
By Alexander Smith and Associated Press with NBC News World News
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It would be the secretary of state's fourth visit to North Korea after a trip scheduled for August was axed.


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wants Secretary of State Mike Pompeo make another visit to his country and reiterated his desire for a second summit with President Donald Trump, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Thursday.Negotiations between the United States and North Korea have been deadlocked since June, when Kim and Trump held their first summit in Singapore.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, center, arrives in Pyongyang on July 6.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, center, arrives in Pyongyang on July 6.Andrew Harnik

The two leaders agreed that North Korea should denuclearize, but their accord was vague and both sides have been stuck at an impasse ever since.On Thursday, the South Korean president said he had tried to grease the wheels of U.S.-North Korean diplomacy while at a three-day summit in Pyongyang this week.Speaking to journalists back in Seoul, Moon reported that Kim wants Pompeo to come to Pyongyang for more talks.Moon also said the young dictator "has expressed his will meet with President Trump for a second U.S.-North summit."It would be Pompeo's fourth visit to the North after Trump abruptly canceled a visit scheduled for August. It's the second time this month that Kim has reportedly asked for a second summit with Trump.

In addition to his public statements, Moon told reporters Thursday that he will deliver a private message from Kim to Trump at a United Nations meeting in New York next week, The Associated Press reported.One of the major stumbling blocks in negotiations has been North Korea's desire for an official end to the Korean War 1950-3, which technically never finished because it ended in an armistice.Moon supports this push, and said he would discuss this with Trump before the end of this year, the AP said.As one of the signatories of the armistice, the U.S. would need to sign off on the war's official end. However, it has been reluctant to do so because of fears it could lead to calls for the withdrawal of the 28,000 American military personnel stationed in South Korea.While the U.S. effort has stumbled, Moon has had more success with his own talks, which focus on peace and economic cooperation with the North rather than denuclearization.His summit in Pyongyang this week saw Kim pledge to to shut down his country's nuclear complex, halt missile testing and cease hostile acts toward South Korea.However, big questions hang over the announcement, with analysts warning against overestimating its significance.There is debate among experts about how much Moon actually cares about Trump's goal of denuclearization; some say he thinks it's impossible and is therefore more focused on more short-term achievable goals.

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Moon did claim Thursday that the North's latest pledges this week proved it was filling in the detail missing from June's summit."This is a huge change in that North Korea has seriously discussed detailed measures," he said.However, Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear policy expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, was among those who saw these pledges with deep skepticism."The North Koreans are offering gestures that mimic disarmament," he wrote on Twitter. "They don't meaningfully constrain North Korea's nuclear program. But they aren't meant to. There primary purpose is to appease Trump, so that Moon and Kim can keep their engagement alive."

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