'Still risks' that North Korean peace won't happen - Pompeo

2018-06-14 14:13

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned on Thursday that there are "still risks" that could derail efforts to bring peace to the Korean peninsula following US President Donald Trump's summit with North Korea's leader.

"We truly believe that we have a path forward after so many years that can bring peace," Pompeo told Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi as he briefed officials in Beijing about the landmark talks.

"There are still risks that we won't achieve that but I truly do believe that the world set the conditions properly" at the summit, he said, after Trump said his deal with Kim Jong Un had ended the North Korean nuclear threat.

Pompeo said he appreciated everything done by China, North Korea's sole major ally, to prepare the ground for Tuesday's summit.

Trump repeatedly urged Beijing to enforce UN sanctions on North Korea to pressure the reclusive country, whose economy relies heavily on China to survive.

"There is still more work to be done by China and the United States," Pompeo said.

Wang said the summit "moved the peninsula's nuclear issue into the right track of peace and negotiation in line with all parties including the US and China as well as the hopes of international society".

"It helps to promote and realise the denuclearisation of the peninsula and helps to provide the peninsula and the region real and lasting peace," Wang added.

Turning to US-China relations, Wang said "cooperation far outweighs differences and competition" between the world's two largest economies.

His comments come as weeks of negotiations between Beijing and Washington show no signs of a breakthrough, with Trump due on Friday to decide on whether to impose tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports.

Denuclearisation

Earlier, Pompeo said in Seoul that Kim understands denuclearisation must happen "quickly", warning there will be no sanctions relief for Pyongyang until the process is finished.

Washington remained committed to the "complete, verifiable and irreversible" denuclearisation of North Korea, Pompeo added, after the historic US-North Korea summit in Singapore drew criticism for its vague wording on plans for Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons.

"We believe that Kim Jong Un understands the urgency... that we must do this quickly," he said of the effort to have North Korea abandon its atomic arsenal.

Washington's top diplomat was in Seoul to brief his South Korean and Japanese counterparts after Trump's post-summit comments sparked confusion and concern in Tokyo and Seoul.

But Pompeo insisted at a joint press conference with the two countries' foreign ministers that there was no daylight among the allies on how to achieve the denuclearisation of North Korea.

Contrasting the Trump policy with previous US administrations, Pompeo said: "In the past, they were providing economic and financial relief before... complete denuclearisation had taken place."

"That is not going to happen, President Trump made that clear."

Pompeo's comments came after North Korean state media reported on Wednesday that Trump had not only offered to stop military exercises during dialogue, but also lift sanctions imposed on Pyongyang.

Trump said after his meeting with Kim - the first between sitting US and North Korean leaders - that Washington would halt its joint military exercises with South Korea, an announcement that caught Seoul - and apparently the Pentagon - by surprise.

The US and South Korea conduct several large drills every year to maintain readiness for operations on the peninsula, a source of irritation for Pyongyang, which considers them preparations for an invasion.

Read more on:    donald trump  |  kim jong un  |  mike pompeo  |  north korea  |  china  |  south korea  |  us

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