Pompeo says ‘very hopeful’ to continue US-N.Korea dialogue

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the United States is “very hopeful” to continue dialogue with North Korea at various levels, though the latter has signalled its unwillingness to do so.

“We’re very hopeful that we can continue to have this conversation, whether that’s at levels beneath the summit, or if it’s appropriate and there is a useful activity to take place, to have senior leaders get back together as well,” Pompeo said on Thursday during a press briefing when asked whether another US-North Korea summit is possible before the US presidential election in November, Xinhua reported.

“As for who and how and timing, I just don’t want to talk about that today,” he added.

US President Donald Trump suggested earlier this week that he is open to another summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

“I understand they want to meet and we would certainly do that,” Trump said in an interview with Gray Television’s Greta Van Susteren. “I would do it if I thought it was going to be helpful,” added Trump.

US Deputy Secretary of State and special envoy for North Korea Stephen Biegun also noted that Washington is ready for talks with Pyongyang.

“When Chairman Kim appoints a counterpart to me who is prepared and empowered to negotiate on these issues, they will find us ready at that very moment,” Biegun said on Wednesday in Seoul.

“I believe this is very much possible. President Trump has given us his full support to continue this effort,” he noted.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said last week that his country would make all-out efforts to let North Korea and the US hold talks before the US presidential election.

Pyongyang, however, has expressed its unwillingness for more talks with Washington. Kwon Jong Gun, director general of the Department of US Affairs of North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, said on Tuesday that North Korea was unwilling to talk face to face with the United States, urging South Korea to stay away from meddling in Pyongyang’s affairs.

Denuclearization talks between Washington and Pyongyang have been stalled since the Hanoi summit between the two leaders in February 2019 ended with no agreement.

Tensions escalated on the peninsula as North Korea demolished the inter-Korean liaison office building in North Korea’s border city of Kaesong last month in protest against anti-Pyongyang leaflets sent across the border by South Korean civic group activists, mostly defectors from North Korea.

Pyongyang has cut off all communication lines with Seoul.