NEXT STEPS: Pompeo, Bolton Meet With North Koreans Next Week

CIA Director Mike Pompeo, picked to be the next secretary of state, listens during his introductions before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a confirmation hearing on his nomination to be Secretary of State, Thursday, April 12, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington. Pompeo's remarks will be the first chance for lawmakers and the public to hear directly from the former Kansas congressman about his approach to diplomacy and the role of the State Department, should he be confirmed to lead it. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) Chairman Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Ranking Member Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., The Senate Foreign Relations Committee holds Pompeo's confirmation hearing Thursday.

Following the historic peace summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un Monday in Singapore — during which 4 pillars were established toward building a new peaceful relationship between the nations — reports indicated next steps would include a meeting between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton and select North Korean leaders.


The Daily Beast reports:

President Trump said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton would meet with North Korea officials next week to start the process of hammering out details on a program of denuclearization that were absent from the summit in Singapore. The brief deal signed by Trump and Kim Jong Un earlier in the day said a follow up meeting would take place at the “earliest possible date.” Trump also invited Kim to visit him at the White House if talks progress well.

While some have lamented that the deal struck Monday is short on specifics, Kim at least agreed to begin the process of decnuclearization; although, as Axios reports, it’s unclear exactly what this means in practice.

Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

  • What it means: This follows North Korea’s commitment to South Korea in April. It’s not clear whether the leaders decided on a specific framework for denuclearization and verification.

To that end, the Institute for Science and International Security (the “good ISIS” as they call themselves) has published a report showing what information the US currently lacks about North Korea’s uranium enrichment regime — information necessary in getting a handle on establishing proof of denuclearization.


Knowing the status and extent of North Korea’s gas centrifuge program remains a priority in denuclearization negotiations.The table on the following page is taken from a 2011 Institute study, Denuclearization and Verification of North Korea’s Uranium Enrichment Program, and is updated. It contrasts the expected centrifuge facilities and activities with a summary of what is known about each of them.

A near term priority of the North Korean negotiations is obtaining a commitment from North Korea to fully declare its enrichment program, disable it, allow effective verification of it, and dismantle it. North Korea has no need for enriched uranium that could not be met via international supply at a far cheaper price, and thus it should thoroughly dismantle the program. [A score of 5 indicates much is known; 1 indicates little is known]

It would appear Pompeo and Bolton’s very quick return trip is going to be the first diplomatic step toward a larger first fact-finding phase.


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