Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said that the United States is “very hopeful” to continue dialogue with North Korea at various levels, though the latter has signalled its unwillingness to do so.
During a press conference, Pompeo said, “We’re very hopeful that we can continue to have this conversation, whether that’s at levels beneath the summit, or if it’s appropriate and there is a useful activity to take place, to have senior leaders get back together as well”.
“As for who and how and timing, I just don’t want to talk about that today,” he added.
Earlier this week, President Donald Trump suggested that he is open to another summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
“I understand they want to meet and we would certainly do that,” Trump said in an interview with Gray Television’s Greta Van Susteren. “I would do it if I thought it was going to be helpful,” added Trump.
On Tuesday, US Deputy Secretary of State and North Korea envoy Stephen Biegun arrived for discussions in the South, hours after Pyongyang again threw cold water on Seoul’s idea of another US-North Korea summit.
Talks over Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal have been stalled since a Hanoi summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un collapsed in early 2019 over what the North would be willing to give up in exchange for sanctions relief.
Kim declared in December an end to moratoriums on nuclear and ballistic missile tests, and Pyongyang has repeatedly said it has no intention to continue talks unless Washington drops what it describes as “hostile” policies toward the North.
Tensions escalated on the peninsula as North Korea demolished the inter-Korean liaison office building in North Korea’s border city of Kaesong last month in protest against anti-Pyongyang leaflets sent across the border by South Korean civic group activists, mostly defectors from North Korea.