The Japanese Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reported on Monday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un refused to provide the list of nuclear sites to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during their meeting in Pyongyang on October 7.
According to the Japanese daily, in response to Mr. Pompeo’s request to provide at least a partial list of nuclear facilities, the North Korean leader said that in the absence of mutual trust between the two countries, even if the list is submitted, the U.S. would call it untrustworthy and demand submission again, which will likely lead to a battle.
The North Korean leader reportedly argued that in order to take steps for denuclearization, the two countries need to build mutual trust first. “Once trust is built between North Korea and the United States through a declaration of the end of war, our denuclearization process will accelerate fast enough to eliminate any concern on the part of the U.S.,” Kim added. He also insisted that the U.S. should lift economic sanctions against the North, as a response to sincere steps Pyongyang has taken, such as the return of the remains of some of the U.S. soldiers who fought in the Korean War.
Secretary Pompeo said the U.S. cannot accede to a declaration of the war’s end when North Korea had only promised to dismantle its nuclear facility in Yongbyon in the inter-Korean joint statement on September 19. Demanding that North Korea abandon all its programs for weapons of mass destruction, including its biological and chemical weapons, Mr. Pompeo said the U.S. would take steps “North Korea would consider reasonable,” such as a declaration to end the Korean War, only if Pyongyang’s nuclear warheads, intercontinental ballistic missiles and mobile launch pads are either dismantled or removed outside the country even in partial amounts. Pompeo also called for the communist regime to allow U.S. experts and (International Atomic Energy Agency) officials to inspect the Yongbyon nuclear site, citing the need to examine the records of nuclear activities before dismantlement.
In response, Kim proposed a working-level discussion to decide whether to accept inspections of the Yongbyon site. The working level talks are expected to be held soon in Vienna, where the IAEA is headquartered, led by Stephen Biegun, the U.S. special representative for North Korea, and Choi Sun Hui, North Korea’s vice foreign minister.
Young-A Soh email@example.com