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Secretary Pompeo to meet with Abe, Kono on Saturday

All papers took up an announcement made by State Department Spokesperson Nauert on Tuesday that Secretary Pompeo will visit Japan over the weekend before traveling to Pyongyang. The papers predicted that the Secretary will probably hold talks with Prime Minister Abe and Foreign Minister Kono on Saturday. According to the dailies, the Japanese officials are likely to convey to the U.S. official the importance of maintaining sanctions and not heeding North Korea’s request for the issuance of a declaration on the end of the Korean War in the absence of concrete actions toward denuclearization. 

 

The Secretary reportedly expressed hope that his fourth trip to the DPRK capital for talks with Chairman Kim and his top deputies will “build out a pathway for denuclearization.” The dailies speculated that the main purpose of the visit is to arrange a second summit between President Trump and Chairman Kim, explaining that it is still unclear whether it will be possible to achieve a breakthrough into the denuclearization standoff given that there is still a significant rift between Washington and Pyongyang about the next steps that need to be taken by each party. While quoting the DOS spokesperson as saying that all of relevant UN Security Council sanctions “remain in effect” and that the U.S. is “not easing the pressure in that regard at all,” Nikkei speculated that President Trump may be tempted to decide on a second summit in the absence of progress on denuclearization so as to play up his diplomatic accomplishments in the run-up to the midterm elections.

 

As for the purported summit, Asahi claimed that the U.S. has responded rather negatively to South Korea’s idea on inviting the President to Seoul for a summit with Kim, adding that such a meeting may take place either in Vienna or Geneva to coincide with the U.S. leader’s planned visit to France on Nov. 11 to attend a ceremony commemorating the end of WWI. The daily also reported that some South Korean government officials project that a U.S.-DPRK summit may be held prior to the midterm elections on Nov. 6 given that the Secretary’s fourth trip to Pyongyang has been arranged much earlier than expected. Mainichi speculated that a Trump-Kim summit may be convened in Geneva in mid-November.   

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