US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will begin a 3-day tour of Japan, South Korea and China today, where he
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will begin a 3-day tour of Japan, South Korea and China today, where he is expected to discuss concessions for North Korean denuclearisation. Mr Pompeo will also briefly stop in North Korea tomorrow for a meeting with Kim Jong Un.
Negotiations have hit an expected stand-off; while Washington seeks a full commitment to denuclearisation, Pyongyang demands more concessions before further progress. Among these include officially ending the Korean War. However, without the war, the US would lose one more justification to keep some 30,000 American troops on the peninsula—a key bargaining chip.
Instead, expect Mr Pompeo to concede in other areas first, such as loosening Washington’s harsh international sanctions. Indeed, today’s trip may very well be a precursor for such an announcement, prepping US allies and regional actors for what is to come.
In exchange, North Korea would need to make commitments of its own. Among these could include a detailed inventory of its nuclear weaponry and capabilities, verified by international inspectors. If neither side is willing to make such concessions, expect the standoff to continue—potentially until Kim and President Trump can schedule a second meeting later this year.