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Pompeo: U.S. looks forward to meeting N.K. leadership for nuclear talks

All News 23:33 March 30, 2020

By Lee Haye-ah

WASHINGTON, March 30 (Yonhap) -- The United States looks forward to sitting down with North Korea's leadership for nuclear talks, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday, shortly after Pyongyang accused him of slandering the regime and said it will "go our own way."

Pompeo was responding to an official North Korean statement that condemned his earlier call on the Group of Seven major economies to continue diplomatic and economic pressure on Pyongyang.

In a telephone briefing with Yonhap News Agency and other Asian news outlets, the secretary said President Donald Trump has made clear that international sanctions on North Korea must continue until it takes steps to denuclearize.

This AFP photo shows U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaking during a press conference at the State Department in Washington on March 25, 2020. (Yonhap)

"The president's position on North Korea and mine has been in lockstep since the very first day I became secretary of state," he said, responding to North Korea's complaint that Pompeo was going against the will of Trump, who recently offered assistance with the coronavirus pandemic in a letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

"We have been trying very diligently from the American side since (the June 2018 Singapore summit between Trump and Kim) to move forward with those negotiations and hope that we will get an opportunity to do that," he added, noting that the leaders agreed at the summit denuclearize North Korea and create a "brighter future" for the North Korean people.

"President Trump has also been clear, until we get to that point, till we get to the point where we have made sufficient progress along the way, the sanctions -- not American sanctions, but U.N. Security Council resolutions -- will continue to be enforced and in place," he continued.

"We hope that we will get this opportunity to sit down with the North Korean leadership again and begin to chart a path forward to a brighter future for the North Korean people. It's been President Trump's position since we began our efforts," Pompeo said.

hague@yna.co.kr
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