The United States may host its DPRK “counterpart” in Washington DC soon to facilitate preparations for a second summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a U.S. broadcaster about a potential meeting on Friday amid news that a second summit would most likely take place in early 2019.
“I’m very hopeful we’ll have senior leader meetings here in the next week and a half or so between myself and my counterpart to continue this discussion so that when the two of them get together, there is real opportunity to make another big step forward on denuclearization,” Pompeo told the Voice of America on Friday.
Though Pompeo didn’t specify it would be Washington, it is the most likely interpretation given it is the usual location of his day-to-day work.
Technically, Pompeo’s counterpart would be DPRK foreign minister Ri Yong Ho, though it is possible he may also be referring to Kim Yong Chol, who has been one of his regular DPRK interlocutors.
Pompeo said, however, that he was not “prepared” to share details as to when any second summit may take place, but that the “president’s committed to doing that”.
“We’re working on finding dates and times and places that will work for each of the two leaders.”
Pompeo made the remark en route to Mexico City as a senior U.S. official was quoted Friday by Reuters as saying that “a (summit) meeting is likely sometime after the first of the year”.
Pompeo last met his foreign ministry counterpart Ri Yong Ho during the United Nations General Assembly in September.
But while he expressed hope to VOA about a potential Washington meeting on Friday, a State Department spokeswoman declined to confirm whether such a meeting would actually go ahead, Reuters said.
Meanwhile, it also emerged on Friday that the U.S. would suspend its annual December Vigilant Ace air power exercise to “give the diplomatic process every opportunity to continue,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana W. White said.
“Both ministers are committed to modifying training exercises to ensure the readiness of our forces,” White explained. “They pledged to maintain close coordination and evaluate future exercises.”
Denuclearization talks between the U.S. and DPRK face significant hurdles given the gulf between the two on the issue of sanctions relief, which Pyongyang has been calling for on the basis of not testing nuclear devices or ballistic missiles for nearly a year.
Update: This article has been amended to take into account the possibility of Pompeo’s regular interlocutor, Kim Yong Chol, being invited to the U.S.
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