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Terrence Matsuo is the Washington correspondent for NK News. He previously supported research and reporting for several American and Japanese organizations.
The U.S.’s top diplomat on Thursday said he was “very hopeful” about prospects for renewed negotiations with North Korea, in comments that come as his deputy visits South Korea and Japan to coordinate with allied governments on regional issues.
“We continue to work to establish dialogue and have substantive conversations about how we might deliver … peace and stability to the entire peninsula,” said U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in a teleconference with foreign reporters based in Washington.
“We’re very hopeful that we can continue to have this conversation,” Secretary Pompeo added, “whether that’s at … the levels beneath the summit, or if it’s appropriate and there is a useful activity to take place, to have senior leaders get back together as well.”
The administration was working to convince North Korea that its “weapon systems actually create risk for it rather than creating the security blanket that they have historically believed that it did,” he continued.
He added that the Trump administration is still committed to realizing the goals outlined at the first U.S.-North Korea summit, which was held in Singapore in 2018.
Secretary Pompeo’s comments following multiple statements from the North Koreans dismissing prospects for talks with the Americans.
In comments published Friday morning local time, the DPRK leader’s sister ruled out another “useless” summit between the two countries, though appeared to leave the door open for dialogue in the future.
They also came the same day that Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun wrapped up the Seoul portion of his trip to the region.
“Deputy Secretary Biegun reaffirmed the strength of the U.S.-ROK Alliance, U.S. support for inter-Korean cooperation, and continued U.S. readiness to engage in dialogue with the DPRK,” the State Department said in a press release regarding his meetings with South Korean officials.
He arrived in Tokyo on Thursday evening to meet with his Japanese counterpart, and other officials.
“Deputy Secretary Biegun reaffirmed to Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Akiba our commitment to Japan’s security, DPRK denuclearization, and allied cooperation to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific,” tweeted the Twitter account of the American embassy in Tokyo.
The Kyodo news service reported that U.S.-Japan cooperation in resolving the abduction issue, as well as North Korea’s nuclear and missile weapons programs, were topics discussed by Secretary Biegun and Vice Foreign Minister Akiba.
The Sankei Newspaper reported that Biegun is set to meet with foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi and defense minister Taro Kono on Friday.
Details about his schedule remain unclear. The Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the U.S. State Department declined to comment on the record regarding the American embassy’s tweet, or Japanese media reports on Secretary Biegun’s schedule.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
The U.S.'s top diplomat on Thursday said he was “very hopeful” about prospects for renewed negotiations with North Korea, in comments that come as his deputy visits South Korea and Japan to coordinate with allied governments on regional issues.
“We continue to work to establish dialogue and have substantive conversations about how we might deliver ... peace and stability to the entire peninsula,” said U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in a teleconference with foreign reporters based in Washington.