UPDATE : 2019.6.16 SUN 16:53
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Pompeo to accompany Trump to S. Korea this month

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will accompany President Donald Trump on a visit to South Korea late this month, the State Department said Monday.

Trump is due to visit Seoul for talks with President Moon Jae-in after attending a Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, on June 28 and 29.

The exact dates of his trip have yet to be announced.

"Following the G-20, Secretary Pompeo will follow President Donald J. Trump to the Republic of Korea to meet with President Moon Jae-in," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said at a regular press briefing, referring to South Korea by its official name.

This AFP file photo shows U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

"The two leaders will also discuss ways to strengthen the United States-Republic of Korea alliance. President Trump and President Moon will continue their close coordination on their efforts to achieve the final, fully verified denuclearization of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea," she added, referring to North Korea by its formal name.

Pompeo will also join Trump during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the margins of the G-20 summit.

Trump and Abe will "coordinate on the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea" and "discuss ways to strengthen trilateral cooperation with the Republic of Korea on our unified approach toward the DPRK and other shared challenges," Ortagus said.

Efforts to dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons program have hit an impasse since the no-deal summit in February between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

North Korea has demanded sanctions relief in return for partial denuclearization, while the U.S. has refused to lift sanctions before the full dismantlement of Pyongyang's weapons of mass destruction programs.

"If you look throughout history at any successful negotiation or any outcome, it's never linear, right? There's always ups and downs and we remain confident that Kim Jong-un and his government will see a path for a brighter future for the North Korean people," Ortagus said when asked to characterize progress with North Korea since the first Trump-Kim summit in Singapore on June 12, 2018.

"One year later that is what we are still aspiring to and still hoping for while noting, of course, that economic sanctions do remain," she said.

Ortagus said the department doesn't have any information on recent reports of North Korea's execution of its top nuclear negotiators.

She noted that the U.S. remains open to talking with the North Koreans. (Yonhap)

Kang Su-mok  edt@koreapost.com

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