Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Kim Jong Un 'wants Pope Francis to visit North Korea'

Kim, Pompeo agree to 2nd US-North Korea summit 'at earliest date' Kim Jong-un holds ‘PRODUCTIVE and WONDERFUL talks’ with Mike Pompeo as relations thaw
Andrew Cummings | 10 October, 2018, 04:35

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Kim on Monday in Pyongyang to discuss the next summit.

The desire to welcome the leader of the Catholic church comes as Kim attempts to transform his image from paranoid head of a rogue state to young and dynamic world leader.

Last month, the North's foreign minister told the United Nations there was "no way" his country would disarm first as long as tough U.S. sanctions remain against his country. He tried to shrug off the restrictions on his bodyguard, calling him a "big guy" and laughing.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrapped up his fourth visit to North Korea with word that Kim Jong Un is ready to allow global inspectors into a key nuclear testing site.

"There's a lot of logistics that will be required to execute that", Pompeo told a news briefing in Seoul before leaving for Beijing, where the frosty tone of talks will raise worries about China's willingness help maintain a tough US -led sanctions regime on North Korea.

Pyongyang's official KCNA news agency was upbeat.

Vatican Secretary for Relations with States Paul Gallagher visited the Joint Security Area on the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea July 5, where he said, "It is a very historic period, a period of hope, and the Holy Father is supporting that movement".

"It's a long process", Pompeo told reporters.

"Both the leaders believe there's real progress that can be made, substantive progress that can be made at the next summit", Pompeo said.

This version of the story corrects 4th paragraph to make clear that Washington has been seeking inspection of Yongbyon.

Then in a speech last week, Vice President Mike Pence issued a broad indictment of the methods behind China's rise to becoming a major economic power, asserting in a sharply critical speech that Beijing has sought to undermine USA interests across the globe. That site was dismantled in May before a crowd of journalists, not nuclear experts.

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Wang appealed to Pompeo to cease actions that Beijing sees as threatening its interests in order to avoid disrupting cooperation over North Korea and other issues.

"On their soil also", Trump added. But what is known appears marginal.

South Korean president Moon Jae-in, is due to deliver the invitation during his visit the Vatican next week as part of a trip to Europe.

'I think the speed is incredible, ' Trump said, commenting on the pace of progress. "I look forward to seeing Chairman Kim again, in the near future", he tweeted. But that wasn't an advance on comments Trump made last month in NY, when he said he wanted to meet Kim "very soon".

Pompeo declined to comment whether there was progress on a shutdown of the Yongbyon site.

Pompeo's trip to Pyongyang, his fourth this year, followed a stalemate as North Korea resisted Washington's demands for irreversible steps to give up its nuclear arsenal, including a complete inventory of its weapons and facilities.

The Pontiff visited South Korea in August 2014. Kim's regime has said it wants to focus on more than just its nuclear program, and that it expects the U.S.to show some flexibility with its demands.

"President Moon will visit the Vatican on October 17 and 18 to reaffirm its blessing and support for peace and stability in the Korean peninsula", the spokesperson told a news briefing.

The US diplomat also met with Xi during a similar trip to the region in June.

Hours after President Trump announced tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, China responded with its own levies on $60 billion worth of United States products.

Trump talked of "incredible progress", hailing the absence of missile or nuclear tests this year and the recent return of remains of United States service members killed during the Korean War.

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