UPDATE : 2019.12.16 MON 10:14
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Pompeo voices hope for resumption of talks with N. Korea soon

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has expressed hope that negotiations with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program will resume soon, citing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's earlier commitment, his office said Friday.

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to resume working-level talks when they held a surprise meeting at the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom on June 30.

According to diplomatic sources, Washington has recently proposed to the North the holding of a working-level meeting, but Pyongyang has yet to respond.

In an interview with EWTN-TV on Wednesday, Pompeo said that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said that "in several weeks, he would put his working-level team back together," according to a transcript provided by the State Department.

"We can denuclearize North Korea in a way that we can verify and the world can get comfortable that that's really taken place, and then there's real opportunity for the North Korean people to live a better, brighter future," he added.

Negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea ground to a halt after a second Trump-Kim summit in Vietnam in February ended without headway.

Asked about Kim's warning of the possible resumption of weapons testing in case the U.S. and South Korea continue military exercises, the secretary said the U.S. is doing "exactly what President Trump promised Chairman Kim we would do with respect to those exercises," and expressed confidence that such conversations are going to continue.

Earlier this week, the North's foreign ministry warned that if South Korean and the U.S. go ahead with planned joint exercise planned in around August, it will affect the working-level nuclear talks between Washington. (Yonhap)

Cho Kyung-hee  edt@koreapost.com

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