Peace goal still faces 'risks' | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 15, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:54 AM, June 15, 2018

TRUMP-KIM SUMMIT

Peace goal still faces 'risks'

Warns US top diplomat, says N Korea sanctions to remain until complete denuclearisation

♦ World escapes threat of war, nuke weapons after summit: Seoul

♦ The summit moved the peninsula's nuke issue into right track of peace: China

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said yesterday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un understands that denuclearisation must happen "quickly", but he warned there are still risks that peace will not be achieved and sanctions must be maintained for now.

Washington remained committed to the "complete, verifiable and irreversible" denuclearisation of North Korea, Pompeo said, 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 travelled to Seoul to brief his South Korean and Japanese counterparts about the summit, and later flew to Beijing to talk with Chinese officials.

"We truly believe that we have a path forward after so many years that can bring peace," Pompeo told Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

"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.

Any reduction in tensions on its doorstep is welcome for China, North Korea's closest ally, which accounts for around 90 percent of Pyongyang's trade.

Beijing immediately hinted that the United Nations could consider lifting the punishing sanctions on North Korea that Trump credits with bringing Kim to the table.

Wang told Pompeo 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".

Earlier, Pompeo insisted at a joint press conference with the South Korea and Japanese 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 Wednesday that Trump had not only offered to stop military exercises during dialogue, but also lift sanctions imposed on Pyongyang, causing concern in Tokyo and Seoul.

Earlier, South Korean President Moon Jae-in acknowledged that "there may be very conflicting views" about the summit, but it had still helped mitigate fears of a nuclear war.

“In this way I believe it was very successful."

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