SEOUL, Oct. 7 (Yonhap) — United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday he had “good, productive conversations” with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during his fourth visit to Pyongyang, but that there is still a long road ahead in the peace process.
Pompeo met with Kim for two hours, the two had lunch together, then he flew to Seoul later in the day to share the outcome of their meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha.
“As President Trump said, there are many steps along the way and we took one of them today. It was another step forward,” Pompeo said in a meeting with Moon at the Blue House. “So this is, I think, a good outcome for all of us.”
The top U.S. diplomat thanked the Seoul government for playing a role in negotiations for Pyongyang’s steps in “denuclearization” and building “stable relationship” with Washington.
Moon also expressed gratitude for Pompeo’s visit to Seoul shortly after his Pyongyang trip, saying “the world’s eyes are on the outcome” of their meeting.
“Today is a very important day for the U.S. as well as South and North Korea,” Moon said. “I hope Secretary Pompeo’s North Korea visit and the upcoming second U.S.-North Korea summit will create good momentum for a breakthrough in the denuclearization and irreversible progress in the peace process on the Korean Peninsula.”
Shortly after landing at Osan Air Base south of Seoul, Pompeo posted a photograph of himself meeting with Kim, with their top aides in the background.
Stephen Biegun, the U.S. Special Representative for North Korea, Kim Yo-jong, the North Korean leader’s younger sister, and Kim Song-hye, a senior North Korean official in charge of reunification, were seen behind Pompeo and Kim in the photo.
Pompeo tweeted he had “a good trip to Pyongyang” and “continue to make progress on agreements made” at Singapore summit held between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim.
Pompeo’s fourth trip to North Korea comes after Kim’s reaffirmation of his resolve to denuclearize during his third summit with Moon in Pyongyang last month.
The North has committed to taking additional denuclearization steps, such as shutting down its long-range missile engine test site and launching pad in Dongchang-ri on the west coast in the presence of international inspectors and closing its main Yongbyon nuclear complex should the U.S. take “corresponding measures.”
Their meeting has also drawn attention as Trump and Kim are pushing to have a second meeting by the end of this year, following their landmark Singapore summit on June 12.
Before embarking on his four-nation Asia trip, Pompeo said he hoped to agree on a “general date and location” for a second U.S.-North Korea summit.
Pompeo visited Tokyo on Saturday and will head to Beijing before returning to the U.S. on Monday.
Source: Yonhap News Agency