Pompeo in Pyongyang: Yet Another Nothingburger in Trump’s North Korea Diplomacy

    Robert E Kelly

    Security, Asia

    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo departs his guest house in Pyongyang, North Korea, Saturday, July 7, 2018, to call President Donald Trump on a secure phone. Pompeo is on a trip traveling to North Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Abu Dhabi, and Brussels. Andrew

    Mike Pompeo’s powers of negotiations may now be limited.

    American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently returned from North Korea on his latest effort to cajole the North into some manner of denuclearization. Unfortunately he returned with nothing, yet again. This is now becoming a pattern in this year’s American and South Korean outreach to North Korea.

    South Korean president Moon Jae-in has met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un twice this year. President Donald Trump took the unprecedented step of meeting Kim in Singapore last month, a first for a U.S. president. And Pompeo has gone several times and appears to be planning to try yet again.

    In each case, the North has not agreed to any manner of timeline or specific details for denuclearization, inspections, biological and chemical weapons disarmament, conventional force withdrawals along the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas, and so on. Nor has it given even any details about what materials it has. Outsiders still do not have even the shape of the nuclear and missile programs—how many nuclear warheads, how many missiles of what ranges, how many launchers, how many centrifuges, how many kilograms of plutonium and highly enriched uranium, what safety, and command and controls protocols, and so on.

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