Published: Fri, September 21, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

USA ready to negotiate with North Korea 'immediately': Pompeo

USA ready to negotiate with North Korea 'immediately': Pompeo

On the final day of the summit, Moon and Kim took a symbolic step toward peace, traveling outside the capital to visit Mount Paektu - a famous and revered volcano that's also the highest point on the Korean Peninsula, situated along North Korea's border with China.

"He said he hoped (U.S. Secretary of State) Mike Pompeo would visit North Korea soon, and also a second summit with Trump would take place in the near future, in order to move the denuclearization process along quickly", Moon said.

North Korea said on Wednesday it would permanently abolish its key missile facilities in the presence of foreign experts, the latest gesture by leader Kim Jong Un to revive faltering talks with Washington over his country's nuclear program.

Kim also pledged establishing closer ties with the South.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday invited North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho for talks in NY next week, during the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations.

Pompeo's statement came after the North and South Korean leaders met for a third summit and declared that progress had been made in efforts to normalize relations.

South Korean Defence Minister Song Young-moo and North Korea's Minister of the People's Armed Forces No Kwang Chol signed an agreement that Seoul says is about reducing military tensions along the border.

Mr Kim promised to accept worldwide inspectors to monitor the closing of a key missile test site and launch pad and to visit Seoul soon, and both leaders vowed to work together to try to host the Summer Olympics in 2032.

Washington was ready to "engage immediately in negotiations" to achieve the North's denuclearisation by January 2021, Pompeo added - the end of Trump's first term.

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"The video images of the hand-holding and hugging" gave "the impression that things are much farther along toward a peaceful settlement of disputes between North and South Korea than we know is in the reality", Douglas Paal, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said of the meeting.

The joint statement from the summit stipulates Kim's commitment to a "verifiable, irreversible dismantlement" of the nuclear programmes, and ending the war would be a first United States reciprocal step, Moon said.

"The North Koreans have always held out launches as their right as a sovereign nation".

That is because when he goes up Mount Paektu, he wants to go "stepping on our soil", Kim Eui Kyeom, spokesman for the presidential Blue House, told reporters on Wednesday.

But there have been concerns in South Korea and the United States that ending the war would ultimately prompt China and Russian Federation, if not North Korea, to demand that the United Nations Command (UNC), which overlaps with USA forces in South Korea, be disbanded and leave.

"I wish there would be an opportunity for my fellow citizens to see Chairman Kim Jong Un for themselves and hear him talking about the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, peace and prosperity with his own voice", the South Korean president said.

As a concession to the US, Pyongyang refrained from displaying its most advanced ballistic missiles during a huge military parade marking its 70th anniversary as a nation earlier this month. And North Korea will likely be focusing next month on getting talks with the United States back on track before the USA midterm elections in November. North Korea wants South Korea and the United States to declare the war to be formally over, as a sign that hostilities have ended and to build trust. Moon then said Kim agreed to visit Seoul within the year unless there are "exceptional circumstances". In this case, an attack from the USA against North Korea would then violate worldwide law. He also expressed a willingness to dismantle the North's main nuclear facility in Nyongbyon if the United States takes unspecified corresponding measures.

At the summit, the two Koreas agreed on plans to resume economic cooperation, including working to reconnect rail and road links.

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