North Korea nuclear crisis

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo promises to make North Korea rich if it agrees to denuclearise

Pompeo said that the US would make North Korea as wealthy as its southern neighbour if it submitted to a ‘robust verification programme’ that would prove it has disarmed

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 May, 2018, 3:48am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 May, 2018, 4:17am

The United States is willing to help North Korea’s economy flourish if the North gets rid of its nuclear weapons, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday.

“If North Korea takes bold action to quickly denuclearise, the United States is prepared to work with North Korea to achieve prosperity on par with our South Korean friends,” he said at a joint news conference with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha.

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His speech came the day after he returned from Pyongyang with three American detainees released by North Korea.

Some observers are concerned that South Korea’s desire to build peaceful ties with the North may distance it over time from the US policy of seeking nuclear disarmament at any cost.  

But both Kang and Pompeo insisted that they agreed on the need for the “total, complete, permanent and verifiable” denuclearisation of the divided peninsula.

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Kang said that there would be no lifts on sanctions before the June 12 meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore.

“We are very clear that sanctions remain in place until and unless we see visible, meaningful action taken by North Korea on the denuclearisation track,” she said.

She added that there must be “airtight” coordination between South Korea and the US ahead of the Trump-Kim summit.

Pompeo, meanwhile, talked about the “ good conversations” he’d had with Kim during his two visits to the country, saying they involved the “deep, complex problems, challenges, strategic decisions that chairman Kim has before him”.

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The pair, he said, talked “about how it is he wishes to proceed and if he’s prepared, in exchange for the assurances that we’re ready to provide him, if he is prepared to fully denuclearise.”

“We’ll require a robust verification programme, one that we would undertake with partners around the world which would achieve that outcome,” he warned. 

But, he added, “I’m confident that we have a shared understanding of the outcome that the leaders want – certainly President Trump and Chairman Kim, but I think President Moon as well.” 

“I think that we have a shared vision for what we hope. I think there’s a complete agreement about what the ultimate objectives are,” he said.