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(LEAD) Pompeo: Sanctions will remain until N. Korea's denuclearization

All News 12:38 July 08, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES with more comments from 5th para)

TOKYO, July 8 (Yonhap) -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday there was progress in his latest talks with North Korea but stressed that sanctions against Pyongyang will stay in place until its full denuclearization.

He was speaking at a joint press conference here with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts -- Kang Kyung-wha and Taro Kono - following a trilateral meeting.

The secretary briefed them on the outcome of his two-day trip to Pyongyang, during which he had negotiations with Kim Yong-chol, one of the closest aides to the North's leader Kim Jong-un.

He said the Trump administration won't lift sanctions against Pyongyang until its final, fully-verified denuclearization.

The denuclearization of Korea covers not just nuclear bombs but also missiles, he said, adding North Korean officials also understand that.

On the trustworthiness issue, he said, "There will be a verification connected to the complete denuclearization,"

It's what President Donald Trump and the North's leader agreed in their Singapore summit last month, he said.

Meanwhile, South Korea, the U.S. and Japan reaffirmed the shared goal of ridding the communist nation of its nuclear program in a "complete, verifiable and irreversible" way, according to Kono.

They also agreed to maintain close coordination on next steps.

The South Korean minister said her government's decision to suspend major combined military drills with the U.S. was aimed at facilitating the denuclearization process.

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