Pompeo’s NK visit cancelled because of demands for immediate end-of-war declaration, NIS says

Posted on : 2018-08-29 17:07 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Clashed with US insistence that denuclearization precede everything else
Suh Hoon
Suh Hoon

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s abrupt cancellation of a fourth North Korea visit in late August appeared to be the result of a conflict between North Korea’s demand for a declaration ending the Korean War ahead of anything else and the US’s insistence that denuclearization come first, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) suggested.

During an appearance before a plenary session of the National Assembly Intelligence Committee on Aug. 28, NIS Director Suh Hoon was reported as saying the service had “determined that [Pompeo] is unable to go [to North Korea] before the clash between North Korea, which is demanding the adoption of a war-ending declaration, and the US, which is calling for a denuclearization declaration first.”

In a press briefing after the session that day, Kim Min-ki, the Democratic Party’s ranking member on the committee, reported Suh as giving the response when asked by lawmakers why Pompeo had reversed his decision a day after the fourth North Korea visit was announced. US President Donald Trump cancelled Pompeo’s planned North Korea visit on Aug. 24, citing insufficient progress on North Korea’s denuclearization.

Lee Eun-jae, the Liberty Korea Party’s ranking member for the committee, also took part in the press briefing.

“The US is asking [North Korea] to present a denuclearization list first, and North Korea wants to have a war-ending declaration first,” she said.

During the Q&A session, opposition party lawmakers asked several questions on whether Washington’s displeasure with what it views as trilateral coordination by Beijing, Pyongyang, and Seoul might have been a factor in the cancellation of Pompeo’s visit, which Suh “neither confirmed nor denied,” Lee added.

In terms of denuclearization goals for the Korean Peninsula, the ruling and opposition party ranking members reported Suh as saying, “If there are 100 North Korean nukes, that means disposing of all 100.” When asked by a lawmaker if the “primary target” would be 60 percent, Suh answered “yes,” they added.

When asked by opposition lawmakers if supplies of petroleum and electricity to an inter-Korean joint liaison office to be established in Kaesong would be in violation of North Korea sanctions, Suh was quoted as replying, “Establishing an inter-Korean office means having in-depth contact on a permanent basis and will be helpful in communication on denuclearization.”

“Our determination is that it does not fall under the category of areas [affected by] North Korea sanctions,” he was reported as saying.

By Jung Yu-gyun, staff reporter

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