Saturday morning’s Nikkei reported on Secretary of State Pompeo’s purported trip to Pyongyang in early July. The national daily opined that the Secretary’s third trip to the DPRK signals that Washington is making concessions to the Kim regime. While the Secretary appears to be confident about achieving the complete denuclearization of North Korea, the paper added that progress in the denuclearization talks may be a slow process. The daily claimed that although Secretary Pompeo has reportedly expressed a negative view on establishing a timetable for denuclearization, many USG officials have come to believe that setting a deadline is indispensable for achieving denuclearization swiftly.
Meanwhile, all national dailies reported over the weekend on an NBC story regarding alleged efforts by North Korea to increase its production of weapons-grade plutonium despite the denuclearization commitment made by Kim Jong Un to President Trump in Singapore last month. The American broadcaster, which cited several USG sources, asserted that Pyongyang may be trying to deceive Washington. Sunday’s Yomiuri wrote that Secretary Pompeo is likely to raise the allegation during his purported visit to the DPRK capital later this week in a bid to press North Korea to provide a full accounting of its nuclear development programs.
Meanwhile, today’s Yomiuri and Sankei took up remarks made on a Sunday TV program by National Security Advisor Bolton, who stressed that North Korea’s nuclear arsenal could be dismantled in a year if Pyongyang cooperates. Commenting on reports on North Korea’s clandestine efforts to continue nuclear development, the senior White House official said: “We’ve seen how the North Koreans have behaved before. The President is not going to make the mistakes of prior administrations.”