The White House said on Monday that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will head for North Korea on July 5 for talks.
At a press briefing, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said that “to continue the ongoing and important work of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, Secretary Pompeo will be leaving for Pyongyang on July 5th to meet with the North Korean leader and his team.”
The State Department also confirmed Pompeo’s trip, saying that the US top diplomat will travel to the East Asian nation on July 5-7, in part of a journey which will also take him to Tokyo, Hanoi, Abu Dhabi and Brussels over the July 5-12 period.
The state department’s announcement comes days after Pompeo called External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to inform her about his decision to postpone the July 6 India-US 2+2 dialogue in Washington DC.
Mike Pompeo is expected to meet the officials of Japan and South Korea in Tokyo on July 7 and 8, said the State Department.
The trip will be the first of its kind since US President Donald Trump met with North Korea top leader, Kim Jong Un, in Singapore on June 12, when they issued commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Mike Pompeo last week abruptly announced the postponing of the July 6 2+2 dialogue with India.
The department did not offer any explanation for the sudden postponement, except for saying it was due to unavoidable circumstances.
“To continue the ongoing and important work of denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula, Secretary Pompeo will be leaving for North Korea on July 5th to meet with the North Korean leader and his team,” Sanders told reporters at her daily news conference.
The White House refused to comment on media reports saying North Korea was planning to conceal its nuclear weapons and missiles programme.
“We are not going to confirm or deny any intelligence reports. What I can tell you is that we’re continuing to make progress,” she said.
A top US diplomat had a meeting with members of a North Korean delegation on Sunday. “In the last eight months you haven’t seen missile launches. You haven’t seen the nuclear detonations. These conversations are continuing to evolve. I’m not going to get into the details, but I can tell you that progress continues to be made,” Sanders said.
Pompeo would be in Pyongyang from July 5 to 7 to continue consultations and flesh out the agreement reached by President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong-un in Singapore.
He would spend the next two days in Tokyo where he will meet Japanese and South Korean leaders to discuss their shared commitment to the final, fully verified denuclearisation of North Korea, as well as other bilateral and regional issues, state department spokesperson Heather Nauert said.
On Sunday, he will carry on to Hanoi for talks with the Vietnamese government and the week after, continue on to the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi before arriving in Brussels on July 10, she said.
Pompeo will meet with UAE leaders to discuss ways to further strengthen the US-UAE partnership and advance their common security and economic priorities, Nauert added.
He will then accompany Trump to a NATO summit in Brussels on July 10-12, where discussions would be held on increased defence spending and burden sharing, enhanced deterrence and defence, and NATO’s strengthened efforts to fight terrorism.
Pompeo will also participate in the US-EU Energy Council and co-host a meeting of foreign ministers of the global coalition to defeat ISIS with NATO in Brussels, Nauert said.