WASHINGTON – The United States is ready for talks with North Korea when it clearly will follow through on its commitment to denuclearize, the Ministry of foreign affairs said Tuesday after a visit to Pyongyang by a top diplomat Mike Pompeo was shelved.
On Friday, President Donald Trump focused Pompeo at the delay of his journey, which was scheduled for early this week, that insufficient progress has been made to obtain from the authoritarian regime to abandon its nuclear weapons, as agreed upon with leader Kim Jong-Un in June.
Pompeo’s spokeswoman Heather Nauert refused to comment on reports that a tough-worded letter from an aide, Kim had derailed what would have been Pompeo’s fourth visit to North Korea this year.
Nauert said the president and his national security team, including Pompeo, and national security adviser John Bolton, had ruled that “it is now not the right time to travel.” However, she said diplomatic efforts are “ongoing” but could not say whether there had been communication between the State Department and North Korea since Friday.
She was referring to a statement of Pompeo that despite the decision to delay of the journey, “America is ready to go when it is clear that the Chairman Kim is ready to deliver on the commitments he made at the Singapore summit with President Trump to completely denuclearize North Korea.”
“The world is united behind the need for Chairman Kim in the fulfilment of that obligation,” Nauert said.
Trump, who view the reduction of the tensions with North Korea this year, a major foreign policy achievement, still voiced respect for Kim on Friday and said that he looks forward to seeing him “soon.” He explained to unspecified debt to China, North Korea is one of the most important trade partner, for the lack of progress. China is currently embroiled in a trade dispute with the US.
But Trump’s tweet meant a shift in his relentlessly cheerful posts since the Singapore summit, the first ever held between the leaders of the US and North Korea. There is a growing skepticism in Washington and abroad that Kim wants to denuclearize without first winning concessions, including sanctions relief, or a declaration to officially end the 1950-53 Korean War.
Secretary of defense Jim Mattis told reporters Tuesday that the united states would be conducting military exercises with South Korea in the following spring, after cancellation of a major exercise this year as a gesture in the direction of promoting the diplomacy aimed at eliminating North Korea’s nuclear weapons. Mattis said no decision has been made on when to resume military exercises, but his statements suggested the recent cancellation may not be repeated.