US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced last week that he is ready to re-open talks with North Korea, setting a deadline for ending the process of denuclearization for the year 2021.
The announcement was made in the wake of a meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean head Kim Jong Un after which Kim promised to take apart some of his nuclear program if the United States makes certain concessions.
“On the basis of these important commitments, the United States is prepared to engage immediately in negotiations,” Pompeo said in a statement.
Pompeo’s announcement is a change in tone from the stand the US took in August when President Trump canceled a planned visit by Pompeo to the capital of North Korea, stating that the two sides were slow to progress.
Last Wednesday Pompeo invited North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho to meet him next week at the New York meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in order to re-start talks.
He also invited officials from North Korea to meet in Vienna with the State Department’s newly appointed North Korean envoy Steven Biegun “at the earliest opportunity.”
“This will mark the beginning of negotiations to transform U.S.-DPRK relations through the process of rapid denuclearization of North Korea, to be completed by January 2021, as committed by Chairman Kim, and to construct a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula,” Pompeo said, referring to North Korea as the DPRK, stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the name the North Koreans use for their country.