Amid the din of U.S. President Donald Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a high level meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with his North Korean counterpart has been overshadowed. Pompeo was in Pyongyang on July 8th for two days of talks.
Reports of the meeting suggest that the follow up talks to the Trump-Kim Summit have been underwhelming to say the least. As Pyongyang made no specific commitment to denuclearisation during the June 12 meet, the follow-up meetings that Pompeo held in North Korea was to get Kim Jong-un to commit to a timeline. However, North Korea has found little incentive to do so as the summit with Trump has ensured that China and Russia are openly engaging with the reclusive country again.
North Korea says high-level talks with a U.S. delegation led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were "regrettable" and accused Washington of a "unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearisation".
The statement says that the United States betrayed the spirit of last month's summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un by making unilateral demands on "CVID," or the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of North Korea.
It says the outcome of the follow-up talks was "very concerning" because it has led to a "dangerous phase that might rattle our willingness for denuclearisation that had been firm."
In a crux, North Korea made it crystal clear that it won't give up its nuclear weapons under any circumstances.
After the meetings, Pompeo told reporters that his conversations with senior North Korean official Kim Yong-chol had been "productive," conducted "in good faith" and that "a great deal of progress" had been made in some areas. However, he also admitted that the "road ahead will be difficult and challenging" since it has now become clear what North Korea's red lines are.
The Trump Administration are faced with a tricky path ahead, as returning to the pre-summit days of ‘fire and fury’ means a loss of credibility while negotiating with the Kim Jong-un regime will most certainly take time and there is no guarantee of de-nuclearisation.