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Pompeo calls for right “sequencing” in nuclear talks with N. Korea

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged Monday to ensure the right “sequencing” takes place in denuclearization negotiations with North Korea.


Speaking in an interview with a Kansas radio station, Pompeo called for “getting it laid out in a way that each of the parties can agree to.”


Pompeo said President Donald Trump’s commitment to a brighter future for North Korea is “very real,” but that U.S. and international assistance to develop Pyongyang’s economy “has to follow the verified denuclearization of North Korea.”


North Korea, however, has called for U.S. concessions such as sanctions relief as part of an incremental approach to dismantle its nuclear and missile programs.


The gap between the two sides led to the collapse of last month’s second meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, held in Vietnam.


At their first meeting in Singapore last June, which was also the first ever U.S.-North Korea summit, Kim committed to “complete” denuclearization.


Despite the breakup of the Feb. 27-28 summit in Hanoi, Trump is determined to diminish Pyongyang’s nuclear threat, Pompeo said in Monday’s radio interview.


“We made a little bit of progress in Hanoi” to flesh out the agreement the two leaders made in Singapore, he said.


“Not nearly as much as we had hoped, but the effort continues because it’s important,” he said.


However, a senior North Korean official last week threatened to pull out of denuclearization talks with the United States, saying Kim will soon decide if he wants to continue talks and whether to continue refraining from nuclear and missile tests.

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