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N Korea at crossroads

Pompeo says work remains before next Trump-Kim meeting

Secretary of state hopes to travel to Pyongyang 'before too long'

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has offered New York, Vienna and Pyongyang as possible venues for new talks with North Korea.   © Reuters

NEW YORK -- The U.S. is arranging a second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but looks first to ensure that "the two leaders are put in a position where we can make substantial progress" on denuclearization, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday.

"We're working on it," Pompeo told Fox News of the potential for a follow-up to the June summit between Trump and Kim in Singapore. "But there's still a little bit of work left to do to make sure the conditions are right."

In a separate interview with NBC News, the secretary said he hoped to see the next summit take place "in relatively short order ... to continue to make progress on this incredibly important issue for the world." Pompeo also said he hoped to visit Pyongyang to continue negotiations "before too long."

Pompeo's plan to make his fourth visit to the North last month was scrapped by Trump, who tweeted at the time about the lack of "sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

The secretary revealed this week that he had invited North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho to meet with him in New York during the United Nations General Assembly. The U.S. also has invited North Korean representatives to begin meetings in Vienna with Stephen Biegun, the American envoy to the North, Pompeo said.

"This will mark the beginning of negotiations to transform U.S.-DPRK relations through the process of rapid denuclearization of North Korea, to be completed by January 2021, as committed by Chairman Kim, and to construct a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula," Pompeo said in his statement, using the acronym for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Economic sanctions against Pyongyang will not be removed until denuclearization is complete, Pompeo said. China and Russia, neighbors and trading partners of North Korea, have lobbied to relax the U.N. sanctions adopted in response to the North's nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

"Those economic sanctions will remain in place until we get to the end, till we get to that final denuclearization, which Chairman Kim promised President Trump he would undertake," Pompeo told NBC.

Pompeo chairs a ministerial-level meeting of the U.N. Security Council next week, where he is expected to discuss progress toward North Korean denuclearization as well as the need for countries to continue carrying out U.N. sanctions.

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