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US optimistic on nuclear talks with NK: Pompeo

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (AFP-Yonhap)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (AFP-Yonhap)

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that the US was optimistic that it would make progress in its stalled nuclear talks with North Korea.

“As for North Korea, which you mentioned, we did have hopes that we could make further progress, that Chairman Kim would go in a different direction, but I’m still optimistic,” Pompeo told the president of the Atlantic Council, a US-based think tank, in an online conversation.

“There’s still lots of work going on, work going on between ourselves, our allies in the region, the Japanese, the South Koreans,” Pompeo added.

Pompeo did not elaborate on what kind of efforts the US and its allies were making to make the nuclear-armed North Korea give up its nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, David Stilwell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, also said Tuesday that North Korea could deal with the aftermath of recent typhoons if it delivered on the promise it made at the 2018 Singapore summit with the US to denuclearize.

“All these things could be addressed if we simply had a follow-through on the Singapore agreement to begin talks on -- sincere conversation on denuclearization,” Stilwell told a telephone briefing with reporters in Asia.

North Korea is struggling with recovery efforts after typhoons flooded farmland in the hunger-stricken country under international sanctions. Leader Kim Jong-un has made rare trips to hard-hit regions in what has been seen as an attempt to calm public frustration.

“And so, for North Korea, we need to go back to the original agreement. We need to insist that they follow through with that agreement,” Stilwell added.

By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)
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