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Washington, Pyongyang coordinating Pompeo visit

Aug 22,2018
The United States and North Korea are coordinating a schedule for the American secretary of state’s visit to Pyongyang and follow-up denuclearization negotiations, Seoul’s foreign ministry said Tuesday.

In its parliamentary briefing, the ministry also reiterated Seoul’s goal of achieving the declaration of a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War this year, despite Washington’s reported reluctance about an early declaration before Pyongyang takes tangible steps toward denuclearization.

“During future negotiations [between the U.S. and the North], the concrete sequence of the denuclearization process, ways to guarantee the North’s security and the normalization of U.S.-North Korea relations in conjunction with denuclearization are expected to be at issue,” the ministry said.

Media speculation has grown that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will soon travel to the communist state for a fourth visit following his latest one last month. He has the apparent aim of breaking the perceived impasse in the denuclearization talks.

During the historic June summit in Singapore, U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to build “new” bilateral ties, foster a “lasting and stable” peace regime and pursue the complete denuclearization of the peninsula.

The North has suspended its nuclear and missile tests, closed its main nuclear test site and repatriated 55 sets of remains of American troops killed during the Korean War. However, it has yet to take substantive disarmament steps, such as a clear declaration of its nuclear and missile programs.

In the briefing, the ministry reaffirmed that it will strive to ensure that steps for the establishment of a peace regime on the peninsula, such as the end-of-war declaration, will be taken as soon as possible.

“In line with the Panmunjom Declaration, our government’s goal is to achieve the end-of-war political declaration this year when we mark the 65th anniversary of the signing of the armistice agreement,” the ministry said, referring to the April inter-Korean summit declaration.

“[We] are doing reviews to implement this and seeking consultations with related countries,” it added.

Washington reportedly recoiled at a premature declaration of an end to the conflict. Critics argue that Pyongyang is seeking the declaration to help ensure its security and weaken the rationale for American troops in the South.

Yonhap