Pompeo Faces 'Extraordinary Challenge' on NoKo Denuclearization Timeline — Ex-CIA Officer

Posted July 08, 2018

Donald Trump has sent secretary of state Mike Pompeo to North Korea with two gifts for Kim Jong Un - including an Elton John CD featuring the song Rocket Man, according to South Korean media. The U.S. wants significant progress within a year. Chosun Ilbo reports that during Trump's first meeting with Kim, the North Korean dictator asked about the nickname.

Trump is said to have written a message on the CD for Kim.

When asked Thursday whether he was wary that North Korea may now be trying to hide its nuclear program, the president told reporters, "We'll see".

Secretary Pompeo will depart Pyongyang Saturday morning for Tokyo, where he is expected to meet with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono to discuss the outcomes of his talks in North Korea.

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"If they're serious, then we can get down to the business of defining the terms of final denuclearization", said one official.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, rear right, and Kim Yong Chol, front center, a North Korean senior ruling party official and former intelligence chief, arrive for a meeting at the Park Hwa Guest House in Pyongyang, North Korea, July 6, 2018.

She also denied that the USA has eased its demand for "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization", speculation that emerged after the State Department started defining its goal as the "final, fully verified denuclearization" instead.

Before the meeting, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert cautioned expectations should not be high, saying they don't expect any deliverables like a timeline or blueprint for denuclearization, an accounting of North Korea's weapons and facilities, or even an update on the status of American remains from the Korean War.

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It says pressure will remain until North Korea denuclearizes, but in statements this week, it redefined the USA goal as "the final, fully verified denuclearization" of the country.

Major South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo, citing unnamed Washington sources, said the "Rocket Man" CD was a gift for Kim Jong-un, a reference to Mr Trump's "Little Rocket Man" gibe of past year. "And other things have happened including last week, taking down the anti-US propaganda".

"Under the Obama administration they were launching missiles, they were testing", Mr. Trump said.

The United States hopes to maintain momentum amid news reports, based on USA intelligence sources, that the secretive North is continuing its nuclear activity.

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