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Mike Pompeo: U.S., allies must work together to push denuclearization in North Korea

September 27, 2018

The United States and its allies in the international community must be united behind Washington’s efforts to persuade North Korea denuclearize, or risk Pyongyang retreating further into isolation as it works toward an atomic weapon, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday.

Addressing members of the United Nations Security Council in New York, the top U.S. diplomat said recent advances in U.S.-North Korean relations, beginning with the landmark Singapore summit in June, “has resulted in the first significant diplomatic breakthrough in decades” between Washington and Pyongyang.

“Past diplomatic attempts to halt North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile development were unsuccessful. But now we’re at the dawn of a new day,” he told council members, a day after the Trump White House announced that Mr. Pompeo would be visiting North Korea next month, to continue denuclearization talks and further normalization of relations with Pyongyang.

“The path to peace and a brighter future is only through diplomacy and only denuclearization. That means any other path North Korea may choose will inevitably lead to ever-increasing isolation and pressure,” Mr. Pompeo said regarding bilateral efforts to eliminate the nuclear threat posed by North Korea.

Next month’s scheduled visit will focus on the nuts and bolts of the denuclearization process, proffered by the Trump administration in June, as well as the diplomatic parameters for a proposed second summit between Mr. Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

While the administration has spearheaded the bilateral effort to bring North Korea back into the international community, Mr. Pompeo implored U.N. partner nations to take a larger role in that effort.

U.N. members “must set the example on that effort, and we must all hold each other accountable” regarding efforts to persuade North Korea to denuclearize, he said Thursday. Specifically, Mr. Pompeo said current U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang “must continue vigorously and without fail until we realize the fully, final, verified denuclearization.”

Additionally, the international community must work harder to enforce sanctions barring illegal imports of additional refined petroleum and coal exports from North Korea, which have been identified as primary sources of funding for the country’s nuclear program. But Mr. Pompeo noted that sanctions and other punitive measures alone will not bring about denuclearization on the Korean peninsula.

“We are well into a diplomatic process, and we hope [and] indeed, we want to see this through to a successful end,” with Pyongyang, he said adding “the future can be very bright for North Korea if it makes good on its commitment to final, fully verified denuclearization.”

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