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Pompeo restarts North Korea talks, sets 2021 deadline

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday said that he would restart denuclearization talks with North Korea with the goal of completing the process by 2021.

The comments came on the heels of meetings this week between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, after which Kim vowed to dismantle parts of his nuclear program in exchange for certain concessions from the United States.

"On the basis of these important commitments, the United States is prepared to engage immediately in negotiations," Pompeo said in a statement.

The announcement is a change in tone for the U.S. Last month, President Donald Trump canceled a planned Pompeo visit to Pyongyang, saying the two sides were not making enough progress.

But on Wednesday, Pompeo said he had invited North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho to restart talks with him next week in New York at the United Nations General Assembly meeting.


Pompeo also said he had invited Pyongyang officials to meet in Vienna, Austria, with Stephen Biegun, the State Department's recently appointed North Korean envoy, "at the earliest opportunity."

"This will mark the beginning of negotiations to transform U.S.-DPRK relations through the process of rapid denuclearization of North Korea, to be completed by January 2021, as committed by Chairman Kim, and to construct a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula," Pompeo said, using an alternative acronym for North Korea.

Kim has previously indicated that he would like to get rid of his nuclear weapons program by the end of Trump's first term, although experts say the North Korean leader has taken few steps to actually achieve that goal.


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